Ship High In Transit or how a new word

Ship High In Transit or how a new word came into being. No SHIT!

Subject: manure trivia

Just a little history lesson for the day. Enjoy!

Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer’s invention, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, 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, BOOOOM! 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” on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks 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 ", (Ship High In Transport) 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 had always thought it was a golf term.

Is there any truth in the above tale or is it just some more B.S?

Pure bullshit:

Rule #1: It wasn’t until the 1940s that any currently used English word was created via an acronym; “radar” was probably the first.

So, despite the urban legends, “golf,” “tip,” “posh,” “shit,” “fuck,” and any other word that existed before the 20th century (“shit” dates back the 1300s or earlier) was not formed by any acronymic phrase.

Methinks sonar was earlier :wink:

You knew I’d go look it up, didn’t you?

According to the OED: radar 1941, sonar 1946

What about asdic?

We have a winner! Asdic: 1939.

However, the OED shows no reference after 1959, so it’s been supplanted by sonar and is not a currently used English word.

It is currently used by anyone describing British anti-submarine warfare during WWII.

Shit is Germanic in origin. It is an antecedent of the Germanic root, Scheiss.

AWOL is certainly a candidate.

AWOL appears to be dated to 1919. ASDIC shows up in Wikipedia with (unclear) dates of 1917 and 1920. (The abbreviation is for the agency that developed it, so it may not have become a word right away.) Wiki also shows SONAR with a 1931 date (and, again, the earlier date my be the abbreviation that had not yet become a word). (ASDIC and sonar both appear in the article on sonar.) On the other hand, I am wondering what criteria the O.E.D. is using. The idea that sonar was not a word prior to 1946 is silly. No one in the U.S. Navy was spelling it out as S O N A R throughout WWII (particularly since the “So” comes from the initial word rather than each being a separate initial).

The word acronym, itself, is dated to 1943, so that time period is certainly when language followers began noting the phenomenon.

And of course we need to know if the letters “AWOL” were pronounced as a word-- A-WOL at that time. Or just read as letters, A W O L.


Oh, yeah, cite : pre-dating the late 1930’s/1940’s by a century.

I could also claim the “Jesus Fish”, or ichthys, which dates from at least the second century AD and represents acronymically the Greek Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, or “Jesus Christ Son Of God Saviour”.

[symbol]ICQUS[/symbol] is an interesting case. On the one hand, I have not (yet) found any serious scholarship supporting the notion that the early Christians actually used the acrostic/acronym in their symbolism. They clearly used the image of a fish, but it is not clear that they ever inscribed or discussed its potential as an acronym. Thus, the association of “fish” with “Jesus Christ Son Of God Saviour” may be a much later invention. On the other hand, that (possibly later) connection is noted in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Symbolism of Fish dating to 1909–thus preceding ASDIC and AWOL, although not OK.

Interesting wikipedia article - Part of article below

Acronyms and initialisms

Last night I dashed off an email to Michael Quinion, editor of the World Wide Words website. Included was a link to this thread and the question, “What would be the oldest acronym?”

His answer: