I'm often asked by people not from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland what "shite" means, or where I got it from. Like "wanker" and "bollocks", this is an excellent swear word that I feel it is my duty to spread around the world.

Although shite sounds like it is a variant on shit, it's actually the other way around. Shite came first, from the Old English scitan (the sc is pronounced sh). The word shit came later, possibly from the past participle of scitan (sciten, or shitten), possibly just as a shortened form of shite.

You can use shite in many different ways (like shit, which can be a noun or a verb - shit, shitting hell, are you shitting me). If something is really badly done or made, it's shit. If it's badly done, but also pathetic, laughable, then it is shite. If I'm annoyed, or have been let down in some way, I can just mutter "shite". A person can also be a stupid shite, a shitebag (bag of shite), or full of shite (a liar, bullshitter, or hypocrite). You can go for a shite (a dump), or have the wild shites (diarrhoea). You can even adapt it to "shite-ing hell". I forgot gobshite (idiot) and shitehawk (not sure where it comes from, but it's a good one), thankfully the exceedingly full of shite CloudStrife reminded me. heyoka also pointed me to a literary shite, the excellent "shite and onions", first uttered by James Joyce in Ulysses - no idea what it means, but it sounds great. I think shite sounds better than shit - although it seems milder and funnier, I feel it is more of an insult than shit. Your story can be shit, which is bad enough, but if it is shite, then it has failed on every level. You're probably fairly safe using either form, they technically mean the same thing. It's all in the delivery. "What a load of shit" has the emphasis on the shit, which is fine. But if you say "what a load of shite", the emphasis on the shite sounds better if you really lay it on. Screw up your face, get the long shhhhh- going, then, whipping your head down with the effort, shout the final -ite. ShhhhhhhhhhhhITE!

Scheisse or Scheiße, the German for shit, is also quite satisfying when shouted (pronounce it "shy-sa"). I just like saying it. The German language has some very inventive swearwords, insults and phrases (like "do you think I shit money?"), as seen in the book Scheisse! The Real German You Were Never Taught in School. As I've mentioned in another writeup, a friend of a friend came back from Germany with one (sadly I've forgotten the original German form) that translated as "arse violinist", meaning someone who's a feckless time waster, an idiot, a stupid shite. Update! the obviously well-travelled ilteroi says that word is "arschgeige" - yay! I want that on a t-shirt immediately.

I fucking love swearing. Who says it's a sign of a low vocabulary?

Origin of shite from www.dictionary.com and www.bartleby.com - although there is some disagreement in various places (shitepokes are apparently a type of heron, according to Bizarre magazine), most of the etymology sites I looked at had variations on the scitan/sciten origin, so I'm sticking with that.

While I've written a few shite writeups (or shiteups, as I call them) in my time here, this is the only one that I am proud to say is completely and utterly full of shite. In a good way.