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Patgo
08-22-2001, 11:29 AM
Does anyone knows where the expression
"shit-eating grin" come from?
Maybe it's just me, but I cannot understand
why dining on fecal matter is supposed to
bring you a sense of satisfaction

UncleBeer
08-22-2001, 12:02 PM
Welcome to the SDMB, Patgo. I trust you'll enjoy your stay here. However, this forum "About This Message Board" is for questions on the operation of the boards. The forum best suited for your query would be General Questions (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=3). That one is for wide-ranging inquiries of a factual nature. I'll move this thread over there for you.

kniz
08-22-2001, 04:11 PM
My guess is that it derives from another expression:

Like a possum eating shit

Opposums have that funny little grin on their faces and are known to eat just about anything. It is a short jump from there to "shit eating grin".

sjc
08-22-2001, 07:34 PM
I don't recall if I heard this explanation or I just guessed it from the expression, but I think the shit eating grin refers to a grin that is put on while doing something distastful which you must seem to enjoy.

I think the idea of being forced to eat or 'take' shit is older than the term 'shit-eating grin'. If a person is your superior, say a military superior or someone who could kick your ass, they can force you to eat shit (metaphorically, one hopes). So the phrase 'to eat shit' came to mean being forced to do something distasteful. Eventually people may have started refering to the grin that people put on when they had to "eat shit". Thus, a shit eating grin.

Of course I may be completely wrong about this. I have heard the term used to describe a someone who is simply smiling a very wide smile. Perhaps this could be explained by saying that the phrase now refers to a grin that is overly wide, as a it would be if the person were trying to cover up distaste. ???? I don't know, this is a good guess though.

bughunter
08-22-2001, 07:55 PM
Based on context, I've come to understand "shit eating grin" to mean a completely unabashed, uninhibited, totally hedonistic grin.

Somehow as if eating shit were the most rewarding thing in life. Thus the OP's confusion. And I admit, I never understood it either.

However, when we had a dog that loved to eat "kitty roca", we did use the phrase quite frequently. Along with the phrases "turd breath," and "get your tongue off of me, I know what you've been eating!"

warmgun
08-22-2001, 09:16 PM
I always took it to be a I-just-got-away-with-something grin.
In TX we used to say, "...grinnin' like a possum eat'n shit out of a Cokebottle".

never understood either one...

Corrvin
08-22-2001, 10:25 PM
I believe I have the solution...a rural Oklahoma saying is "Grinning like a dog shitting peach seeds"

It's obvious that this might be shortened to shit-eating grin...referring to the wideness of the grin, not necessarily the dog's HAPPINESS at expelling large objects out its backside.

Corr

Mudshark
08-24-2001, 03:19 AM
If I had to eat shit I would not be smiling. But I've never eaten shit. The closest I've come is the chicken pizza at my school.

Francesca
08-24-2001, 07:05 AM
Originally posted by Corrvin
I believe I have the solution...a rural Oklahoma saying is "Grinning like a dog shitting peach seeds"

It's obvious that this might be shortened to shit-eating grin...referring to the wideness of the grin, not necessarily the dog's HAPPINESS at expelling large objects out its backside.

Corr

Where does the eating part come in?

To me, a shit-eating grin is a extra-big grin. Like warmgun and bughunter, I always though it was a kind of "Hehehehe, I just did a funny" grin. As if they someone who just did something bad and got away with it - hence the phrase.

August West
08-24-2001, 08:39 AM
I always heard the "dog shitting a peach pit" phrase as "shaking like a dog shitting a peach pit, which seems more apt.

WordMan
08-24-2001, 08:50 AM
A very quick search in Google didn't turn up a definition, only uses of the phrase...

Could the meaning have changed? Maybe it started out as a reference to an overly-large grin from someone forced to do something they didn't want to do - grinning while eating shit; then, over time, people began to call any overly-large smile a shit-eating grin. When I have used the phrase or heard it used, it was typically an insincere, I-have-this-smile-on-my-face-to-show-you-I-know-I-got-away-with-it type of smile - not one of hedonistic pleasure. So at the very least, both the "taking shit and grinning" and the "got away with it" smiles are not really about pleasure - but about showing you know something that you may or may not want others to know. Given that relation, it seems possible that the meaning evolved from one to the other.

Patgo
08-24-2001, 09:03 AM
My friend Lisa tell me that the expression come
from monkeys and apes in zoos.
To gross out visitors, they seldom eat or
make believe the eat their feces.
Visitors: "AH! DISGUSTING"
Monkeys: <wide-grin>