Bad word of the Week! SHIT!

Each month we are going to give you a little history lesson of the origin of a bad word as well as a little sale on items that contain that word. Are you ready!


Oh, dear interlocutor, let us embark on a whimsical journey through the origins and peculiarities of the word "shit." Brace yourself for a rollicking ride!

Now, the tale begins with the Old English word "scitan," derived from the Proto-Germanic *skit- (which also gave rise to delightful words like North Frisian "skitj," Dutch "schijten," and German "scheissen"). You might be wondering, what does this have to do with cutting and splitting? Well, hold on tight to your linguistic horses, for we shall find out!

Look at Me Living in Huntsville and Shit Mug

You see, the essence of this linguistic concoction lies in the notion of "separation" from the body. It's all about the act of parting ways with one's innermost bodily substances. Think of Latin's "excrementum," derived from "excernere," meaning "to separate." In the marvelous tapestry of language, we discover the Old English word "scearn," referring to "dung" or "muck," stemming from the verb "scieran," which means "to cut" or "to shear." Quite the cut-and-separate connection, wouldn't you say? And here's a fascinating tidbit: it's a distant cousin to our dear companions "science" and "conscience."

But wait, there's more to this tale!

"Shit" isn't some fancy-schmancy acronym, nor is it a trendy newcomer to the linguistic party. Oh no, it has a rich history. Though it was shunned as a taboo term around the 1600s, it rarely graced the pages of printed works. Even the great Shakespeare and the venerable King James Version of the Bible did not dabble in its usage. In fact, during the scandalous days of the late 18th century, when so-called "vulgar" publications thrived, "shit" was masked by dashes, hiding in plain sight like a mischievous imp. It continued to face the ire of censors as late as 1922 when both "Ulysses" and "The Enormous Room" ruffled some feathers. The audacity! And would you believe it? In 1957, a story by Hemingway in the Atlantic Monthly caused quite a stir among magazine subscribers. Some dictionaries, bless their prim and proper souls, even omitted it until as recently as 1970. Oh, the scandalous journey of this word!

Now, let's not forget its extensive slang usage. Oh, the things we humans come up with! Since 1934, "shit" has taken on the additional meaning of "to lie" or "to tease." And as if that weren't enough, since 1903 it has also been used to express a rather disrespectful attitude. We mustn't overlook its cousin, "shite," which shares the stage of linguistic eccentricity.

But wait, there's more! Behold the humorous past tense form, "shat," making its entrance in the 18th century. How jolly!

And let's not forget the colorful idioms that have sprouted from the fertile soil of fear and involuntary defecation. Since the 14th century (imagine that!), English speakers have been conjuring up expressions that tie fear to, well, let's just say, the call of nature. The imagery has even graced Latin in its day. Take, for example, the charming phrase "scared shitless," which appeared in 1936. Such linguistic creativity knows no bounds!

So there you have it, dear friend, a jaunty jaunt through the ages and intricacies of the word "shit."

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