Fuzzy Barriers in Earthling Linguistic Structures: Part I – “Shit”

shitting-me BIf you speak English, which, if you’re going to be an Earthling, you really should, then one of the most important words you need to know is “shit”. It is the most versatile and can help you through most conversations.

“Shit” literally means feces or to excrete feces. But it’s rarely used for that.

As a noun, it can be a compliment, or an insult, depending on which article you use. If someone calls you the shit, that’s a compliment. A shit is an insult, unless you modify it by temperature. A cold shit is still bad. But a cool shit is good. As is a hot shit. I’m not sure about in-between temperatures, though; I’ve never heard someone called a room temperature shit. Neither a toasty shit.

Shit can also mean “stuff”. I found this out when a friend asked me to help him move into a new apartment.

“I need some help moving my shit.”


“Your what?”

“My shit. C’mon, man. Many hands make light work.”

“Why- What- … How much?”

“Hey, I helped you move your shit when you got that new place.”


Long beat.

“Ohhhh. Right. Sure. What time?”

As a verb, shit mostly means to lie to.

“Are you shitting me?”

No. And I think it would be pretty obvious to us both if I were.”

“Why? You don’t think you have what it takes to look me in the eye and shit me?”

“Clearly that would be impossible. Especially at first.”

“You better not be shitting me.”

“You would be the first to know. Or, at least the second.

Another use of shit is in a phrase indicating anger.

“How mad was she?”

“She shit a brick!”

Which doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. While I have never shat a brick, of all the emotions I might feel during the process, I don’t think anger would be one of them. Fear springs to mind. Also confusion.

“How confused was she?”

“She looked as though she were shitting a brick!”

That might make more sense.

And afterward might come relief.

Observer003 – Earthlings

Tomorrow: Part II – More of This “Shit”

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