Origin of bullshit

1910–15; bull1 (perhaps reinforced by bull3) + shit
Related formsbull·shit·ter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bullshit



exaggerated or foolish talk; nonsense
deceitful or pretentious talk
(in the British Army) exaggerated zeal, esp for ceremonial drill, cleaning, polishing, etcUsually shortened to: bull

verb -shits, -shitting or -shitted

(intr) to talk in an exaggerated or foolish manner
to talk bullshit to
Derived Formsbullshitter, noun


This word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary . However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bullshit

"eloquent and insincere rhetoric," 1915, American English slang; see bull (n.1) + shit (n.), probably because it smells. But bull in the sense of "trivial or false statements" (1914), which usually is associated with this, might be a continuation of Middle English bull "false talk, fraud" (see bull (n.3)).


by 1942, from bullshit (n.). Related: Bullshitted; bullshitting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper