The word “Shit” Meant “Ship High In Transit”-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
According the the eRumor, in the 16th and 17th centuries, dry manure that was transported aboard ships sometimes got wet, fermented, and released methane gas, which is explosive. Many ships were destroyed before the source of the gas was recognized and after that manure was marked “S.H.I.T,” which meant “ship high in transit. In other words, away from the bottom of the ship and the potential of coming into contact with water.
This email is a hoax.
There is no historical evidence that “Ship High in Transit” aboard ships was the origin for the word “shit.”
The eRumor has circulated on the Internet since about 2000.
This issue is specifically addressed by the folks at the Online Etymology Dictionary who say that “Despite what you read in an e-mail, ‘shit’ is not an acronym.”
The Merriiam-Webster dictionary dates the word back to 1526 and says that is is from the Old English scite and akin to a related word –scitan and means to defecate.
A writer for the Online Etymology Dictionary points out that the use acronyms didn’t develop until the 20th century so a word that is hundreds of years old would not have originated as an acronym.