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English citations of shit

1668 1760 1878 1922 1961 1967 1970 1973 1980 2002 2004 2005 2006 2009
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.


Solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels
  • 1973, Erica Jong, Fear of Flying, page 25:
    In general the toilets run swift here and the shit disappears long before you can leap up and turn around to admire it.
  • 1980, K. J. Dover, Greeks, page 38:
    We might pick on his revelation of what Greek warfare was like... Blood and shit and pus are the all ages.
  • 1967, Phillip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint, page 47:
    Trying to clear my feet of my undershorts before anybody can peek inside, where..I always discover in the bottommost seam a pale and wispy brushstroke of my shit.
A nasty, despicable person, used particularly of men
  • 1922 September 27, E. M. Forster, Letter to Syed Ross Masood, quoted in P. N. Furbank, E.M. Forster: A Life (1978), page 106:
    I think that most Indians, like most English people, are shits, and I am not interested whether they sympathize with one another or not.
  • a. 1387, John Trevisa, Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden,[1] 7.51:
    Tweie pestilencis..fil in Engelond..Men had þe feveres and bestes þe schyt.


Poor quality, worthless
  • 1970, Robert Grover; Martin T. Willaims, Nat Hentoff, Evergreen Review:
    They can make life here more shit than it already is.
  • 2004, Liam Bracken, Exit Only:
    The new guys are some of the most shit mechanics I've ever—”
Nasty, despicable
  • a. 1961, Ernest Hemingway; A. E. Hotchner, Albert J DeFazio, III, editor, Dear Papa, dear Hotch: the correspondence of Ernest Hemingway and A. E. Hotchner, published 2005, page 225:
    And you surely know. Please give Bum my regards. I liked him a lot + I'm sorry as hell he's having such a shit time.
  • 2002, Patricia Cornelius, My sister Jill:
    She knows that we are no more shit than anyone else.
  • 2006, Derec Jones, The Three Bears, page 191:
    I say, and smile at her with the most benevolent older, wiser expression I can get together considering that I'm probably feeling more shit than she is.
  • 2006, Jonathan Stanland, The Bible of Badness, page 82:
    They feel unworthy, don't trust people [] , and generally can have a very shit time
  • 2009, Thomas Leveritt, The Exchange-Rate Between Love and Money, page 313:
    And clearly having a very shit time with guys.
  • 2009, Karen Smith, Desert Rose, page 154:
    it made me feel like there were still good decent people here and after a very shit day this small gesture simply made up for it.


To defecate
  • 1668, Francis Kirkman; Richard Head, The English Rogue[2], page 119:
    When we wrought upon scaffolds in the street it was a great pleasure to me to throw the morter upon the heads of young wenches as they passed by; and at other times with our whiting to bespatter Gentlemens Cloaks as they walked under us, that they looked as if the Crow had shit upon them
  • 1760, Thomas Brown, “Advice to Dr. Oates”, in Works Serious and Comical in Prose and Verse[3], page 243:
    What need you care, Sir, whose dunghill you shit on!
  • 1878, “41 Victoria”, in Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada[4], volume 11, page 109:
    He said: “You God damned son of a bitch, do you want me to shit in a man’s house.” I got another person, who was in an adjoining apartment separated by a blanket partition, to get a bucket.


  • 1760, Thomas Brown, “Advice to Dr. Oates”, in Works Serious and Comical in Prose and Verse[5], page 243:
    And what if Oates be now laid in a gaol,
    ('stead of a barn) and thresh'd with that same flail
    We call contempt? Shit, let 'em kiss your tail.