I googled a synonym for it, but all found was this on Reddit:

The outhouse has collided with the windmill.
The excrement has impacted the rotating blades.

I'm looking for a "classy" or professional phrase that means the same thing as it's "impolite" counter parts to use in my reflection essay.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.

PS. "sh** happened" meaning there being a disaster is now the main concern.

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    The two phrases in question don't generally mean similar things, are you looking for synonyms for both, or is there one in particular? – Mathily Mar 29 '17 at 19:10
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    One step better is: "All hell broke loose," at least usable in AmE professional settings. Quite polite: "Then, chaos ensued." – Yosef Baskin Mar 29 '17 at 19:12
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    If you just want to emphasize that things didn't go as planned (as opposed to there being a disaster), you can refer to "the best laid plans..." (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/best_laid_plans). – fixer1234 Mar 29 '17 at 20:20
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    "The toast hit the floor, marmalade-side-down." – Sven Yargs Mar 29 '17 at 20:27
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    Bad stuff happens. / Bad things happen. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 29 '17 at 20:51

For a polite alternative, from Dictionary.com :

fickle finger of fate, the

noun phrase

The dire and unpredictable aspect of destiny : It wasn't anything she specially deserved, just the fickle finger of fate at work.


It depends on the situation, but a less offensive way would be: " manure happens" or "the sh one t(e) hit the fan. The e at the end is the Irish way of spelling sh one te.


The balloon going up

is a phrase defined by Cambridge as meaning

a situation suddenly becoming very serious or unpleasant.

Rather than

the shit hit the fan

we could say

the balloon went up.

World Wide Words give several examples including this from A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie. Miss Blacklock has just found out that her "niece" and "nephew", who had been staying with her on a long-term basis, were not, in fact, related:

“I still want to know who this other young woman is.” Patrick turned with relief as Julia, cool and aloof, came into the room. “The balloon’s gone up,” he said. Julia raised her eyebrows. Then, still cool, she came forward and sat down. “O.K.,” she said. “That’s that. I suppose you’re very angry?”

If Patrick had said "the shit's hit the fan", his "aunt" might have been even more angry.


Mentioning bodily waste is not proper etiquette if you want to appear classy and professional. If you felt you just had to express a similar idiom in a less inoffensive way then "When the excrement hits the air conditioning", would my top choice.

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