The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #1596416
Posted By: Rapparee
03-Nov-05 - 09:34 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Okay, here goes a totally nonscholarly attempt at the folk origins of "dipshit."
1. Night soil removers are colloquially called "honey dippers" (see, for example, the term "honey pot").
2. This also applies to those who empty septic tanks ("honey dipper" was seen on the trucks of several septic tank maintenance companies in both Indiana and Maryland and to my certain knowledge the term is used in speech elsewhere as well).
3. In the past, those who removed night soil did so using a cart, barrels, and long-handled implements resembling ladles or dippers.
4. In no community that I know of was this considered a particularily "high end" job (although it was, and continues to be, a very necessary job).
5. Because of #4, those employed in the trade were not the best of the area's citizens.
6. Because of the implements used (see #3), the term "shit dippers" would be an obvious term for those in the trade.
7. "Dipshit" is more in the line of "folk poetry" and sound more harmonious than "shit dipper." Besides, "shit dipper" could be confused with "shitepoke", a common name for various herons.
QED, as we used to say at Cambridge.