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July 03, 2003

Golfing Term

Email from Steve (sounds like an urban legend but it's funny enough to use anyway):

Exciting historical information you need to know so you can go about your day better informed. It's about shipping manure, that's right manure!
In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything which was too big to be carried by horse-drawn vehicle had to be transported by ship. It was also before chemical fertilizers were invented (der!), so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because it weighed a lot less than when wet. But ........... and this is a big but, if it got wet (like from sea water), it not only became heavier, but more importantly, the process of fermentation began, of which a by-product is methane gas.
As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, KABOOOOM! Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" which meant the sailors had to stow it high enough so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane. Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T," which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.
You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I always thought it was a golfing term.

While we are working on the origin of words, I hope you know that auditorium caomes from 'audio' (to hear) and tarus (bull).

Posted by Peskie at July 3, 2003 12:00 PM


I just wrote a response to this post. (I started posting it here, but it got too long. I'd have mailed you the link but I can't find an email address. Sigh.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 11, 2003 08:07 AM