Stack Exchange Network
Stack Exchange network consists of 181 Q&A communities including
Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.
Visit Stack Exchange
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.
Sign up to join this community
Anybody can ask a question
The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
11 years, 2 months ago
As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened,
visit the help center
11 years ago.
What is the etymology of
shithole? Did it originate from A) the orifice through which excrement is passed, or B) the hole in the ground intended for the disposal of such excrement?
(This is a serious question for professional research. You don't want to know the details.)
132k 48 48 gold badges 366 366 silver badges 566 566 bronze badges
Jan 10, 2012 at 16:44
The English Chicken The English Chicken
8,422 20 20 gold badges 66 66 silver badges 98 98 bronze badges
The OED’s earliest citation for
shithole is from the seventeenth century, and it’s given as ‘coarse slang’ for ‘the rectum or anus’. The earliest citation for shithole meaning ‘a toilet; a latrine’ is only from 1947.
Jan 10, 2012 at 17:04
Barrie England Barrie England
139k 10 10 gold badges 240 240 silver badges 400 400 bronze badges
Why wouldn't it be both? It seems like an obvious production from two easily-combined words, and the meaning, if it even matters, would be obvious in context.
The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows 73 uses of it, every time referring to a place, never once referring to an anus. So it would seem that the more common use of the word, and probably the original coining, refer to the hole-in-the-ground sense.
Jan 10, 2012 at 16:57
By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our
Accept all cookies
Necessary cookies only