more shit

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 23 18:32:42 UTC 2011

I guess I've always processed the two as similar, but that's because I never thought about it.  I'm sure you're right, especially as to origin, whether or not the original reference was to dogs. Let's see what OED has…
'designating a broad grin expressing uncontrollable delight or self-satisfaction, esp. characterized by awareness of having got away with something normally considered outrageous or improper; (also) designating a consciously disarming, self-deprecating, slightly cheeky grin, often used to deflect censure or disapproval'

I agree that a shit-faced grin should be quite different. But both happy shit in their own way.  (And that's an interesting semantic shift above, from the awareness of getting away with something improper to disarming, and self-deprecating.  I wonder if the latter meaning bespeaks a relation between shit-eating grins and sheepish ones.


On Sep 23, 2011, at 1:43 PM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> I've always heard "shit-eating grin" (an allusion to a dog apprehended during a forbidden act?).  Would a "shit-faced grin" be a grin resulting from one's being drunk ("shit-faced")?
> --Charlie
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Laurence Horn [laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
> Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 1:22 PM
> On Sep 23, 2011, at 10:36 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote [in part]:
>> The HDAS files have enough on this word to make a book.
>> I've heard of "shit-scared," but never "shit-happy."
> Well, there's always the "shit-faced grin", although that doesn't connote pure unadulterated joy.  For another positive locution:  I once told a girlfriend her eyes were browner than shit.  She quite properly took it as a compliment.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list