Odd Terminology:Bitch-a-thane?

Does any one know the origin of the term “Bitch-a-thane” referring to a snow and ice membrane material used in construction.Specifically “Snow and Ice Shield” manufactured by W.R.Grace but apparently other brands are also referred to as such I am told.Construction framers from most western and midwestern states seem to use this term widely.When I first heard it I laughed so hard as it is a fitting term if you’ve ever worked with this material.

The material from which the product is made is Bituthene.

If the stuff is difficult to work with, the alternative name seems to be an easy connection.

The “bitu-” probably refers to bitumen, a name for the tar used in asphalt. The “-thene” probably refers to the polyethelene sheet against which the asphalt is pressed during manufacturing.

Aww, and I thought it was a Middle English term for an unwholesome Dane.


Not at all, Derleth. It was originally the top brood hound owned by a Scots laird.

Thanks for the correct term. A quick check on that term reveals what many experienced contractors could not tell me.


And here I was, thinking it was simply a misspelling of “bitch-a-thon.”

Almost. In fact, the first Bitch-a-thane was the infamous Lady Macbeth, who was Bitch-a-thane-of-Cawdor, Bitch-a-thane-of-Glamis and Bitch-who-shall-be-queen-hereafter. :stuck_out_tongue: