Brillant etymology – by Des Kelly
Brilliant, indeed. There is plenty of it, around our World today. To STOW HIGH IN TRANSIT (or SHIT, in short), was quite common, Centuries ago. What puzzles me is the question that, no matter how much manure was stored below decks, on Ships, how the hell did sea-water get to this shit, in the first place ?. If the sea-water leaked into the bottoms of the Ships where the manure was stored, the said Vessels would have sunk anyway, long before the gas Methane was allowed to form, wouldn’t it ??.
While we could call it Etymology (origins of words), your Writer thinks that this particular story was written by an Author unknown, just for something to do in their spare-time. “ONE IS NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW”, and I totally agree, as long as the “STORE HIGH IN TRANSIT”idiom is short enough to peruse quickly, before the Methane sets in.!!.
“ONE IS NEVER TO OLD TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW!”
Manure… An interesting fact.
Manure : In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything for export had to be transported by ship.
It was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common.
It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become 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 instruction ‘ Stow 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 ‘ , (Stow High In Transit) ,…………. “So it’s really not a swear word”
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 golfing term.