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View Full Version : Past tense of the verb "to shit?"


Scumpup
02-07-2005, 05:02 PM
Discussed this today with the English Dept. where I teach, no definitive answer.
Is it "shat?" ex. The dog shat on the rug this morning.
Is it "shitted?" ex. The ferret shitted under the entertainment center this morning.
Is it "shit?" ex. The baby shit in his pants this morning.

Susie Derkins
02-07-2005, 05:10 PM
I really don't know the answer to your question, but it sounds like you had a hell of a morning!

Spoke
02-07-2005, 05:10 PM
My sense is that it is conjugated in the same way as the word "hit."

So past tense would be "shit."

Happy Lendervedder
02-07-2005, 05:12 PM
I've always preferred "shat." I just like the way it sounds.

tremorviolet
02-07-2005, 05:15 PM
According to Merriam Webster (http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary), both "shit" and "shat" are accepted past tense forms of "shit". (You can also click to hear the pronunciation if you wanna amuse yerself at the office...)

Mangetout
02-07-2005, 05:26 PM
It certainly is 'shat' in my part of the English-speaking world (England).

I was shat upon by birds* just the other day, BTW - supposed to be lucky; didn't feel like it.



*gulls, no less - AKA 'shitehawks'

Bippy the Beardless
02-07-2005, 05:31 PM
I go with shat as the past tense. Luckily we aren't Roman or we would have
shiti,shitisti,shitit,shitimus,shitistis,shiterunt for the past perfect.

violacrane
02-07-2005, 05:48 PM
I go with shat as the past tense. Luckily we aren't Roman or we would have
shiti,shitisti,shitit,shitimus,shitistis,shiterunt for the past perfect.

Shat in my part of England too. Isn't shite runt a great insult though?

CynicalGabe
02-07-2005, 06:14 PM
I go with shat as the past tense. Luckily we aren't Roman or we would have
shiti,shitisti,shitit,shitimus,shitistis,shiterunt for the past perfect.

I believe Shitius was emporer Commodus' older brother.

CookingWithGas
02-07-2005, 09:21 PM
I always thought shat was a humorous construction based on spit/spat because they're both bodily functions. Being as though it's somewhat slangy and vulgar, I wouldn't have thought there was a clear answer to this but Merriam seems to think so, and so does Webster's Ninth New Collegiate. In reading the notes, there seems to be no etymological basis for shat as the past tense, although that don't mean. . . .you know what.

Savannah
02-07-2005, 09:44 PM
I prefer shat, as well.

Patty O'Furniture
02-07-2005, 10:12 PM
I wonder how William Shatner feels about this.

Walloon
02-07-2005, 10:21 PM
In reading the notes, there seems to be no etymological basis for shat as the past tensesit/sat?

commasense
02-07-2005, 11:11 PM
What's wrong with "took a shit"?

Duckster
02-07-2005, 11:12 PM
For me it's, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"



:D

don Jaime
02-07-2005, 11:42 PM
According to Webster's Third, the correct past tense form of "to shit" is "shit." "Shat" is merely a variation (and a horribly sounding one at that). "Shite" is obsolete. Typical British.

Comparing to other words is no good. For "sit" and "spit", you also have "hit" (hat?) and for that matter, "fit" and "slit." It's time like this I wish I had an OED to give me the long explanation, no doubt rooted in the varied declensions of Old English nouns.

danceswithcats
02-07-2005, 11:46 PM
What's wrong with "took a shit"?

Aye, but ye dinna take a shit did ye? Ye left a shit, ye shit. ;)

Slithy Tove
02-08-2005, 12:23 AM
Shat in my part of England too. Isn't shite runt a great insult though?

Ive always been curious about the name "shitehawk" given by beleagered British picnic-goers to an especially aggressive breed of bird encountered in India, my having grown up in the American Midwest on a river poplulated by a species of crane called a "shitpoke," after its ballast-dropping behavior when frightened into flight.

EvanS
02-08-2005, 12:38 AM
Usta be that for a word to be accepted into standard usage it was proposed to committee and inspected and voted upon, etc.
Nowadays whenever something comes into common usage a new dictionary is issued. It's good for business.

When and where I grew up "shit" was not even a word, but a vulgar colloquialism. It was also used as a noun, to describe feces. It was used with the verb "to take" much in the way that we "take" a rest, a bath, a powder, a ride, etc.

Until recently there was officially no such verb, "to shit." The true verb to describe the elimination function referenced was "to defecate," and the past tense was 'defecated.'

(I thought bathroom humor was left behind upon entering high school... ?)

BlackKnight
02-08-2005, 01:48 AM
Strangely, I would say:
"The dog shit on the floor this morning."
but,
"We didn't talk about anything important. We just bullshat."

Chronos
02-08-2005, 02:07 AM
I don't know how you got that idea, EvanS. Language is what people use to communicate, and words are the pieces of language. If people say "shit" to communicate the substance which exits the nether end of the digestive tract, or the act of expelling such matter, then "shit" is a word and is part of the language.

"To defecate" is certainly one true verb to describe said function, but I would question the definite article, there. There are very few concepts for which there is only one single true English word. Other true verbs for that act include "to poop", "to crap", and "to dump" (though admittedly that last one has other, non-scatalogical meanings), as well as a bewildering array of idioms.

And why the comment about bathroom humor? So far as I can tell, nobody in this thread is treating the subject humorously.

blowero
02-08-2005, 04:05 AM
What's wrong with "took a shit"?
I agree. I've never heard the word shit used as a verb without "take". One does not "shit", one "takes a shit".

danceswithcats
02-08-2005, 04:13 AM
I agree. I've never heard the word shit used as a verb without "take". One does not "shit", one "takes a shit".

In Albert's review of Filbert's work, he shit on it. Would that usage not be as a verb?

WotNot
02-08-2005, 05:45 AM
Usta be that for a word to be accepted into standard usage it was proposed to committee and inspected and voted upon, etc.
Not in fact the case. No such committee has ever existed, as far as I know, within the English-speaking world.

When and where I grew up "shit" was not even a word, but a vulgar colloquialism.
A colloquialism, however vulgar the fashions of a particular time and place may consider it, is still a word.

Until recently there was officially no such verb, "to shit."
The OED has the verb form recorded as early as 1308. Not terribly recent.

The true verb to describe the elimination function referenced was "to defecate," and the past tense was 'defecated.'
By “true verb”, do you perhaps mean “prissy euphemism”?

Mangetout
02-08-2005, 05:53 AM
It's probably worth mentioning that 'shite' is mock-polite - you wouldn't say 'shit' in front of the Duchess of Argyll, but 'shite' would be fine*











*(Actually, this is not true)

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
02-08-2005, 06:08 AM
Shat in my part of England, too.

Meeko
02-08-2005, 06:42 AM
I wonder how William Shatner feels about this.


Well maybe if he took one every now and then, he wouldnt have to pause and clench like he does on those old Star Trek eps. :eek:

Annie-Xmas
02-08-2005, 07:54 AM
Strangely, I would say:
"The dog shit on the floor this morning."
but,
"We didn't talk about anything important. We just bullshat."

I've always said "We just bullshitted." But I agree on the first one.

BwanaBob
02-08-2005, 07:57 AM
The great writer for National Lampoon, Chris Miller, used the word "shat" in his stories.

That's good enough for me :) .

spingears
02-08-2005, 09:32 AM
Discussed this today with the English Dept. where I teach, no definitive answer.
Is it "shat?" ex. The dog shat on the rug this morning.
Is it "shitted?" ex. The ferret shitted under the entertainment center this morning.
Is it "shit?" ex. The baby shit in his pants this morning.
WAG Shot?

shit, shat, shot :)

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
02-08-2005, 11:33 AM
If any conclusion can be drawn from the rhyming verb "spit", my Cassell's German-English Dictionary said that the standard tense forms of the word were

spit--spat--spat, or spit--spit*--spit*

*(Archaic or American).

Which seems to jibe with what I've always heard in America, where "shat" seems to be rare.

Is "shitted" ever correct? Perhaps in transitive formations? Such as, "The baby shitted his pants"; but not for intransitive ones like "The ferret shit under the porch."? I can think of one other verb, "hang", which is regular in the transitive construction referring to execution by hanging, but irregular in all other senses.

EvanS
02-08-2005, 07:45 PM
Strangely, I would say:
"The dog shit on the floor this morning."
but,
"We didn't talk about anything important. We just bullshat."
We were just bullshitting.

EvanS
02-08-2005, 07:54 PM
I don't know how you got that idea, EvanS. Language is what people use to communicate, and words are the pieces of language. If people say "shit" to communicate the substance which exits the nether end of the digestive tract, or the act of expelling such matter, then "shit" is a word and is part of the language.

"To defecate" is certainly one true verb to describe said function, but I would question the definite article, there. There are very few concepts for which there is only one single true English word. Other true verbs for that act include "to poop", "to crap", and "to dump" (though admittedly that last one has other, non-scatalogical meanings), as well as a bewildering array of idioms.

And why the comment about bathroom humor? So far as I can tell, nobody in this thread is treating the subject humorously.
Guess I'm a lot older than you Chronos, and steeped in "proper English Usage" of my time, though I have personally overcome it, I would be lax not to fill TTM in on the historical perspective.

Often what IS, and what people believe there IS, are different (the French may be excepted in this, with their language college).

And why not the comment on bathroom humor? Perhaps you're jaded... William Shatner? It's boring to those of us who have grown up.

CapnPitt
02-08-2005, 08:21 PM
OED says shit, shat, shitted

Derleth
02-08-2005, 08:49 PM
Guess I'm a lot older than you Chronos, and steeped in "proper English Usage" of my time, though I have personally overcome it, I would be lax not to fill TTM in on the historical perspective.Regardless of how old you are, there's never been an academy of English like there is an academy of French. There's no group that dictates proper English usage or orthography and there never has been.

Often what IS, and what people believe there IS, are different (the French may be excepted in this, with their language college).Language is defined by how words are actually used, regardless of what anyone dictates to be the proper usage. There was once a school of thought that said linguistic scholars should be prescriptive instead of descriptive, and dictionaries and grammar books once reflected that, but it was a mistaken notion that is now quite antiquated.

The historical perspective is that in prior times, usage was different and didn't change as rapidly as it does now. It did change, of course, but not due to what people thousands of miles away had just started saying. There was a lot more local variation because of this: People travelled less, so regionalisms could persist longer and become more strange to outsiders. The German populations of Pennsylvania were able to speak German locally in some isolated regions of the state well up into the 1940s.

(If taken to a limit, those `regionalisms' branch off into dialects and then languages. The dividing line between the three states (regional variation, local dialect, and language) is blurry and often political.)

Augie
02-08-2005, 09:29 PM
Why is it easier to take a shit than to give a shit in our selfish, apathetic society?

pinkfreud
02-08-2005, 09:34 PM
Why is it easier to take a shit than to give a shit in our selfish, apathetic society?
Good question. Maybe because it's so easy to be a shit.

CookingWithGas
02-08-2005, 09:57 PM
We were just bullshitting.Different tense, describes an ongoing action taking place in the past vs. an action completed at some time in the past.

hazel-rah
02-09-2005, 01:53 AM
If you don't like "bullshitted" as the past perfect form of "to bullshit" you could always go with "shot the shit."

hazel-rah
02-09-2005, 01:55 AM
Sorry, I meant simple past, not past perfect.

peak_oil
02-09-2005, 02:26 AM
I've always enjoyed

pinching a loaf
launching a mud rocket
dropping a sewer pickle
Expelling a column of feces


Those are a few of my favorite things

Past tense:

Pinched a loaf
Launched a mud rocket
Dropped a sewer pickle
Expelled a column of feces

vetbridge
02-09-2005, 10:07 AM
Aye, but ye dinna take a shit did ye? Ye left a shit, ye shit. ;)

Language can be soooo melodious. :D

Dung Beetle
02-09-2005, 10:19 AM
Shat in my part of England, too.
Did not.

EvanS
02-09-2005, 07:00 PM
There was once a school of thought that said linguistic scholars should be prescriptive instead of descriptive, and dictionaries and grammar books once reflected that,
That was basically my point, derived from my antiquated major professor in grad school. So nice we actually agree.

EvanS
02-09-2005, 07:04 PM
If you don't like "bullshitted" as the past perfect form of "to bullshit" you could always go with "shot the shit."
Yes. Bullshitted can have a negative connotation, though, as well as the positive equiv. of 'shot the shit.' Like "He was bullshitting me" vs. "We were bullshitting."
Mind the context for discernment.

Shrinking Violet
02-09-2005, 08:19 PM
(I thought bathroom humor was left behind upon entering high school... ?)
::giggle:: He said left behind in a thread about shit.


I agree. I've never heard the word shit used as a verb without "take". One does not "shit", one "takes a shit".
Not in England we don't - we "have a shit". It's already ours. :D

TheInterruptingCow
02-09-2005, 10:25 PM
Personally, I prefer "download a brown load", but the past tense just doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue...as it were...

Gymnopithys
02-10-2005, 05:19 AM
It certainly is 'shat' in my part of the English-speaking world (England).

I was shat upon by birds* just the other day, BTW - supposed to be lucky; didn't feel like it.



*gulls, no less - AKA 'shitehawks'

Past of shit ? Defecated :) . I was defecated upon by gulls when visited Farallon Islands.
By the way, shitehawks are skuas (genus Stercorarius), also called dung-teaser dung-bird, scait-bird, shite-hawk (in Strangford); Swedish sket, Greek skatos "excrement", and Gothic skita "to defecate", and Scot. skite "to mute", from the widespread belief that skuas harass gulls in order to eat their droppings, while in fact it is the disgorged fish .

Excalibre
02-10-2005, 08:21 AM
That was basically my point, derived from my antiquated major professor in grad school. So nice we actually agree.
Your professor, if he said anything to suggest that "shit" is somehow not a word, was a moron. I'm more inclined to think you're talking out of your ass here, though.

http://takeourword.com/et_temp.html says it's from the Old English "scitan", from the Indo-European root "*-skei", to separate or divide. I'm not familiar with that website but it jibes well with the etymologies of the word that I've heard before (it most assuredly is known back to the Old English period.)


Guess I'm a lot older than you Chronos, and steeped in "proper English Usage" of my time, though I have personally overcome it, I would be lax not to fill TTM in on the historical perspective.
I'm quite curious where you heard all this bullshit (:)) about "proper English". What was your major, anyway, in which this professor filled your mind with such falsehood?

Language is defined by how it's used. The people speaking the language are the ones who "created" it, and English survived for many hundreds of years before ruler-bearing teachers and 18th century "grammarians" (and I use that term in scare quotes to point out their tenuous grasp of grammar) came up with the (often arbitrary) rules of "proper English".

I don't know much about Old English, so I don't know about the different ablaut paradigms; I normally use "shit" as the past tense, but I'm familiar with "shat" and it may well be the more historically accurate form. There are various forces that conspire to change word forms; it probably shifted on analogy from other words; as has been pointed out, there are words following both paradigms - "sit, sat, sat" and "hit, hit, hit".

CapnPitt
02-10-2005, 09:23 AM
Etymology from the OED:

"The form shite represents OE. *scítan, pa. tense *scát, pa. pple. -sciten (in be-sciten), corresponding to OFris. *skîta (NFris. sk{ibreve}tj, pa. tense skäd, pa. pple. skedden), MLG. schîten, Du. schijten, OHG. scî{hgz}an (MHG. schî{hgz}an, mod.G. scheissen), ON. skíta (MSw. skîta, Da. skide), f. OTeut. root *sk{imacbreve}t-. The now more common form shit is influenced by the pa. pple. or the related n."

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