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Wikipedia qualifier for non-etymological verb form (shat)?[edit]

etymonline says this past form is not dated but humorous, not etymological, first recorded 18c.

etymonline seems to be quite specifically American and doesn't reflect usages of the wider English-speaking world.
For example, the listing for spat in etymonline [1] completely fails to list it as p.t. & p.p. of spit, as the Oxford dictionary defines it (and as I and everyone I know uses it). Whereas spit used as the past tense sounds wrong and, basically, kind of hill-billyish (in other words, uneducated). (My Oxford, unfortunately, is too polite, or possibly too short, to list "shit".) --Tyranny Sue 13:48, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Just wondering, would that mean that "sat" (p.t. of "sit") is not etymological too? Are tenses usually etymological?--Tyranny Sue 23:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
No, sat, swam, sang, rang, and so on are etymological. When we say that a form is not etymological, it means that it’s a backformation or other innovation. Etymological forms (such as sat) come down from the ancient protolanguages along with the infinitive. —Stephen 23:41, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen. Is 'spat' (p.t. of 'spit') etymological? (And what about 'hit'? Is there a good reference place I could find this info?)--Tyranny Sue 01:21, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and also, do we know why the p.t. of 'sit' became 'sat' (though 'shit' didn't etymologically become 'shat')? (And is there any known reason for the parallel nature of the p.t. usages for 'spit'?)--Tyranny Sue 01:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, "spat" is an etymological form. From Old English spittan, spætan (spātl = spittle), from Proto-IE base *sp(y)eu-, to spew. I don’t know of a good reference for this info, but it helps to consider the forms in related languages such as German and Norse, or Romance languages for some words. The American Dictionaries such as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and probably the greater OED would also list these forms. Etymological past tense will just be indicated as the past tense, but there should be a remark about innovative forms such as shat. For example, my American dictionaries give shit as the past tense of shit, but do not even mention shat. I think your OED would probably have something to say about shat, but it probably makes it clear that it is not the original form. —Stephen 01:55, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks again Stephen. So, would 'spit' as p.t. be an innovative form? Or non-etymological? (Or is it regarded as in any way anomalous?)--Tyranny Sue 02:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Both spit and spat are etymological past-tense forms, not at all anomalous. In American dictionaries, spit as p.t. is given preference, but spat is also permitted. —Stephen 02:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Is there a Wiktionary qualifier (the kind that's formatted with 2 curly brackets and immediately precedes a definition) for 'backformation' or 'grammatical innovation' (or 'non-etymological' even)? I do think the etymological info about 'shat' is worth including somehow, it's just that "dated" has unnecessarily pejorative overtones.--Tyranny Sue 00:41, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
But, Stephen, MW online is also an American distionary, but and lists both. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:32, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Right, it’s the same as in Britain, except not nearly so naturalized or common. Shat first appeared in the 18th century as a jocular past tense, and has become a standard form in Britain. In the U.S. it is understood, occasionally used jocularly, occasionally used when we want to add an antiquated, formal caste. It’s a backformation that is perceived as dated and something that must have (but was not) used in Middle English and in the time of King James. Just because it is a fairly recent innovation does not mean that it isn’t a real word. It is a real word. Just not as prevalent or standardized in the U.S. as in Britain. As for the original and etymological p.t. form shit, there is a feeling in Britain that it is an incorrect or illiterate form, while in the U.S. we still consider p.t. shit to be correct. —Stephen 12:44, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Also, is there a wiktionary category (or categories) for such words (i.e. non-etymological tenses or innovations or backformations or early 18c innovations)? Perhaps we need to create a new one? (I also posted a question about this somewhere at the Village Pump, but can't remember where now).--Tyranny Sue 06:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

At Etymology scriptorium (Wikipedia qualifier for non-etymological verb form ([shat])?). :) Pingku 19:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Copied back from where it was mistakenly posted on the ES

Is there a Wiktionary qualifier (the kind that's formatted with 2 curly brackets and immediately precedes a definition) for 'backformation' or 'grammatical innovation' (or 'non-etymological' even)? The full discussion is at: [[2]] & I'd really prefer if any replies could be posted there, if that's ok, as it's much less clutterred/crowded than here. Thanks very much in advance for any help with this.--Tyranny Sue 03:13, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

"shat" not 'dated'[edit]

In the UK and Australia "shat" is standard. "Shit" as the past tense is a specifically American usage. (Anyone know what Canadians use? I'm curious.)

"Shat" is definitely not 'dated', at least not according to the wider English-speaking world. I'm pretty sure the wider English-speaking world (or at least, those who use "shat") would consider the use of "shit" as a past tense as incorrect (or at least strange-sounding). (It certainly sounds very incorrect/strange to me, and I was raised by a Bostonian and spent 10 formative years at American schools).

Oddly, the situation is identical for the word "spit". Has anyone else noticed that?

--Tyranny Sue 13:32, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree, shat is not actually dated. There is a pervasive perception that it’s an old form that was used in Middle English and King James’ English and hence dated, but actually it’s a recent innovation. It "sounds" like it should be dated, but it’s not. Spit/spat is similar, except that spat really is an old form. The American perception of spat is that it’s literary and formal, but, though old, not dated. —Stephen 03:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Wow, this makes me feel like I learned most of my English from a human anomaly (or at least a living grammatical fossil)! :) --Tyranny Sue 00:45, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Maybe if we know the rough date it originated that could go in some qualifiying brackets in the entry? Is that sort of thing done in Wiktionary? I think it'd be great if it was.--Tyranny Sue 03:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Certainly if the date is known. In this case, the only date that I have seen concerning the appearance of p.t. shat is the eighteenth century. —Stephen 11:52, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Maybe a qualifier like (early 18c)? I think it'd be cool if Wiktionary then had categories for all such words, then one could look at a list of them. (Fun!) --Tyranny Sue 13:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

CanOD gives the past and past participle as “shat, shit, shitted,” in that order. Michael Z. 2009-04-07 04:33 z

Ah! Thanks, Michael.--Tyranny Sue 09:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Shat not "late innovation"[edit]

In any case, we shouldn't be using Online Etymology Dictionary as the source for the point given Mr Harper's other errors and the self-contradiction within this particular entry (it notes that the word was only uncommonly recorded, then claims this now-common conjugation of the verb didn't exist). If someone has access to a decent OED (the real one), that would be authoritative and we could restore the content one way or another. 15:15, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Figured. Unless there was some anomaly along the way, scitan conjugates (the equivalent of) shit, shat all the way back to Old English. Harper was just talking out of his ass. 15:21, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
He was not, you guys are missing a crucial point: shat isn't the regular outcome of OE scāt (it would be the regular outcome of OE sceatt, ME schat, though). OE ā is regularly rounded to ME ō (except in Northern Middle English, including Scots) from ca. the 11th century. Only when ā is shortened earlier (i. e., still in OE) can it escape rounding – for example in ask, from OE āscian, although I can't think of any more examples. For example, OE hāt gives the completely regular and expected hot. Therefore, the past tense of shit should be shot (in the singular; shit comes from the OE plural sciton). The conclusion is that Harper is right that shat is formed analogically after the pattern sit : sat – he probably relied on actual sources, as he usually does, instead of talking out of his ass like you clueless noobs. Classic Dunning–Kruger here. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:38, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

@Equinox This page has been vandalized twice by the same IP. I think this IP ( should be blocked. Yurivict (talk) 23:28, 28 August 2015 (UTC)