Shitgibbon antedated

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The latest from Ben Zimmer — "A New Breakthrough in the History of the “S—gibbon: The Insult’s Originator Steps Forward", Slate 2/13/2017.

Following up on a comment by David Quantick on Ben's Strong Language Blog post, Ben found this passage in the 1/13/1990 issue of the New Musical Express, in which David Quantick and Steven Wells "imagine Morrissey of the Smiths (nickname: the Mozzer) and Mark E. Smith of the Fall in the year 2000":

’Tis the Mozzer and Mark E Smith! Yes, in the year 2000, Sir Morrissey del Manc and Shitgibbon Smith will be tired old buckers, fit for the scrapheap ever since some student NME reader got to see their poetry part of the English GCSE and finished so-called “serious rock” for, in the words of Alice Cooper, “EVAH!”

Apparently the term may have been used in other Quantick & Wells  NME columns as early as 1988, though these have yet to be found.



  1. JB said,

    February 14, 2017 @ 8:49 am

    Doubtless some NHS-specced shitgibbon will unearth an entire run of the NME from under his bed in order to check.

  2. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 14, 2017 @ 11:41 am

    I understand that Ben Zimmer, like most bylined writers in most publications, is presumptively not responsible for the headlines attached to his writing, but it's particularly interesting that due to internet technology this same piece seems to have two headlines: the lively-but-perfectly-accurate "A New Breakthrough in the History of the 'S—gibbon': The Insult’s Originator Steps Forward" if you're actually looking at the page, versus the more-clickbaitish-and-truth-challenged "A Hero for Our Time: We Found the Man Behind the Priceless Trump Insult 'S___gibbon'" if you try to post a link to alert others to the potentially interesting lexicographic discovery.

  3. Graeme said,

    February 15, 2017 @ 8:15 am

    Is the shitgibbon an older cousin of the crap monkey? The latter is dated to at least the early 2000s by the UrbanDictionary.

  4. Frogstuffing Knobcracker said,

    February 17, 2017 @ 4:26 pm

    For your amusement;

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