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Shit is usually considered a vulgarity and profanity in Modern English. As a noun it refers to fecal matter (excrement) and as a verb it means to defecate or defecate in; in the plural ("the shits") it means diarrhea. Shite is also a common variant in British English and Ireland English.[1] As a slang term, it has many meanings, including: nonsense, foolishness, something of little value or quality, trivial and usually boastful or inaccurate talk, or a contemptible person. It may also be used as an expression of annoyance, surprise, or anger.



The word is likely derived from Old English, having the nouns scite (dung, attested only in place names) and scitte (diarrhoea), and the verb scītan (to defecate, attested only in bescītan, to cover with excrement); eventually it morphed into Middle English schītte (excrement), schyt (diarrhoea) and shiten (to defecate), and it is virtually certain that it was used in some form by preliterate Germanic tribes at the time of the Roman Empire. The word may be further traced to Proto-Germanic *skit-, and ultimately to Proto-Indo-European *skheid-. The word has several cognates in modern Germanic languages, such as German Scheisse, Dutch schijt, Swedish skit, Icelandic skítur, Norwegian skitt etc. Ancient Greek had 'skor' (gen. 'skatos' hence 'scato-'), from Proto-Indo-European *sker-, which is likely unrelated.[2]

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