Talk:when the shit hits the fan

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when the shit hits the fan[edit]

This particular collocation is one of many that involve . But there are many variations (eg, "if" for "when", various direct and sanitized synonyms for "shit", different inflections of "hit", inserted adverbs "really", etc). We clearly need some way of properly handling searches that have forms of "shit hit/hits/hitting the fan". Why not make all of these be hard redirects to hit the fan? Even the challenged entry could be a redirect. DCDuring TALK 21:01, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't shit hit the fan more often than other things? Maybe the entry that ends up staying should mention that. —CodeCat 21:07, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
It does IME, but I haven't searched. If so, perhaps have the main entry at shit hits the fan, with hard redirects from the others.​—msh210 (talk) 21:15, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

(after edit conflict)

The usex at hit the fan (not the citations at the moment) includes shit hitting the fan. Moreover, I strongly suspect the etymological research (and common sense?) would suggest the priority of "shit" as the subject. I just don't think that there is any form containing any words beyond "shit", forms of "hit", the second "the", and "fan" that belongs here. An entry at shit hit the fan might be desirable. DCDuring TALK 21:18, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
IOW, I think I agree with msh. DCDuring TALK 21:18, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
But is 'shit hit the fan' itself actually proper English? Normally, verbs are prefixed with 'to', so wouldn't that make it 'for shit to hit the fan'? —CodeCat 21:28, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
We have a number of entries in Category:English non-constituents, which I created to keep track of the multi-word entries I was finding that did not form grammatical phrases. Some of these had strong support in deletion discussions. They are not my favorite kind of entry, but they often seem lexicographically useful, better than the obvious alternative ways to presenting the material. We could add an extra rule to CFI prohibiting non-constituents if the ungrammatical nature of such collocations seems inappropriate as a general rule. DCDuring TALK 22:14, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
In this case, I think "for the shit to hit the fan" would be a poor representative of the construction, which verges on being a snowclone. "For" is a rather uncommon collocate of the other words in the construction and we have been trying to avoid use of "to#Particle" in both entry names and on inflection lines. I am open to alternatives or arguments in support of that form. DCDuring TALK 22:19, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
I think the problem is really that we're trying to combine a subject with an infinitive, but infinitives have no real subject by definition... —CodeCat 22:25, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Right. It is not natural English to form lemmas of multi-word entries using the base form of the verb with a subject. DCDuring TALK 22:47, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Just passing through. Personally, I have never heard of anything hitting the fan other than shit or some euphemism thereof. I would therefore query the attempt of hit the fan to make this into a generic expression. The non-shit example given, "They were just clowning around, when suddenly it all hit the fan", doesn't mean anything to me, other than a polite version of the "shit" expression. 86.176.211.230 14:00, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

I thought that the origin of the expression hits the fan was through a bowdlerized back-formation of the shit hitting the fan. bd2412 T 00:35, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

That seems highly likely. But the issue in my mind is what the appropriate lemma should be. I'd be perfectly happy to show common forms of sentences with "shit" as subject and "hit the fan" as a predicate as usage examples and in etymologies for some suitable lemma. But I don't see the RfVed entry as a good lemma, nor is any other particular clause an obvious choice. DCDuring TALK 02:54, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I take your point, but am of the same opinion as T and 86.176, that the other hit the fan-phrases are dodges of the one up for deletion. Usage for this sort of thing is hard to come by, but search Google Books "when the shit hits the fan" (2,210 hits),"shit hits the fan" (4,240) and "hits the fan" (9,570). Add to this items hitting the fan like "chic", "chocolate", "$hit", "shift", "bleep", "you-know-what", "crap", "bullshit" etc. "Shizzle hits the fan" once. Salmoneus Aiolides χαῖρε 07:30, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
When I run Google books searches many more hits for "hit|hits|hitting the fan" (36K) than for "when the shit hit|hits the fan" (3.63K), so "when" doesn't seem part of the lemma. Even subtracting "shit" and "crap" still yields 14.3K, so shit is less than essential to the idiom. Furthermore we have no evidence of what the earliest form of the construction is. For example, it could be "then the shit hit the fan", "the shit really hit the fan", "when the shit hit the fan" or the same involving "crap" instead. OTOH, I might have to defer to the aggregate weight of all the "gut" intuitions on this page. DCDuring TALK 22:38, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
My gut still has the profane version (with or without when, if, etc.) being the origin for the whole dodging (imho) system, but DCDuring's convinced me re: lemma issue and broader usage—hard redirect to hit the fan.Salmoneus Aiolides Χαῖρε 16:39, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I have added an etymology and usage notes at hit the fan. Please take a look and improve it. If we can make that entry good enough and provide enough redirects, users won't be misled by our inability to come up with a satisfactory lemma that includes as subject. DCDuring TALK 18:18, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

The earliest use that I can find of the cleaned up form is:

  • 1945, Raymond Henri, Jim Griffing Lucas, W. Keyes Beech, The U. S. Marines on Iwo Jima, p. 45:
    A great pillar of flame went up at the base of Mt. Suribachi. "The garbage hit the fan on that one," said a captain.

This precedes the earliest published use (to be found on Google Books, in any case) by six years:

  • 1951, James Jones, From Here to Eternity, p. 28.
    Where were you when the shit hit the fan?

In the interim, there are various reports of "stuff" hitting the fan, and references to a line in an anti-Japanese "irreverant song" popular among soldiers during the war, "the Shinto hit the fan". bd2412 T 14:30, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

redirected -- Liliana 18:52, 25 October 2011 (UTC)