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A Bit of a Spat

awnlee jawking

I've read three stories in the past couple of days in which the author has used 'spit' as the past tense of 'spit'. Is that standard American English usage? In English English I'm used to the past tense being 'spat'.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

This is from a blog by a writer from The Washington Post:

All three of the major U.S. dictionaries list both "spit" and "spat" as past tense. Two, including Webster's New World (The Post's official dictionary), list "spit" first.


I would never use "spat."

Replies:   richardshagrin  Grant
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde


I would never use "spat."


Lets not have a spat about it. Here is a few on-line definitions:
spat

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to spat: splat

spat 1
(spăt)
v.
A past tense and a past participle of spit1.

spat 2
(spăt)
n. pl. spat or spats
A larva of an oyster or similar bivalve that has settled by attaching to a surface.

[Middle English.]

spat 3
(spăt)
n.
A cloth or leather gaiter covering the shoe upper and the ankle and fastening under the shoe with a strap: The waiter wore spats as part of his uniform.

[Short for spatterdash : spatter + dash.]

spat 4
(spăt)
n.
1. A brief quarrel.

2. Informal A slap or smack.

3. A spattering sound, as of raindrops.

v. spat·ted, spat·ting, spats

v.intr.
1. To engage in a brief quarrel.

2. To strike with a light spattering sound; slap.

v.tr. Informal
To slap.

Grant

@Switch Blayde

All three of the major U.S. dictionaries list both "spit" and "spat" as past tense. Two, including Webster's New World (The Post's official dictionary), list "spit" first.

So, yes.
It's an Amenglish thing.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Is that standard American English usage? In English English I'm used to the past tense being 'spat'.

Oxford Dictionary and Wiki both also say 'spit' is common in North America.

StarFleet Carl

I suppose it's the 'it' for 'at' thing. Whether it's 'sh', 'sp', or 't' - in spoken conversation people, it's rare to hear someone say "I spat in his face yesterday", they're more likely to say, "I spit in his face yesterday".

I suppose it's similar to someone complaining about an unexpected bowel movement. In conversation they're more likely to say 'I just shit myself' rather than saying 'I shat myself'.

Ernest Bywater

Placing tongue firmly in cheek-

Wow, so many dove right in when you drug thus one up.

- tongue removed from cheek.

Replies:   Ross at Play
KimLittle

Mind you, I'm Anglo and I use both but in contexts.

ie I spat on the floor after the baby spit up in my mouth.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Wow, so many dove right in when you drug thus one up.
- tongue removed from cheek.

From references I've seen, in the past many hundreds of years, and while many irregular verbs have shifted to regular -d or -ed forms, ONLY four have gone the other way for significant numbers of speakers.
For two, the regular forms (spatted and weared) have virtually disappeared. I'm not really surprised that a second irregular exists to replace spatted.
Dove has not managed to replace dived. It's common enough now so that most would accept it, even when they dislike it.
Drug never gained much acceptance and would be considered a sign of ignorance by most.

Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

Dove has not managed to replace dived. It's common enough now so that most would accept it, even when they dislike it.


I am actually more familiar with Dove than Dived. It's not just a regional thing either as I have lived in 5 countries and over a dozen states.

Drug never gained much acceptance and would be considered a sign of ignorance by most.


Although it is not used often, I wouldn't say it was a sign of ignorance. I've heard it used in some of the places I've lived. I would consider it more of a regional usage.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

I would consider (drug) more of a regional usage.

Agreed. Some references do not even mention it, and those that do describe it as "dialectic".
So, if used to a national or international audience it is a sign of ignorance.

Crumbly Writer

I've lived in many regions of the U.S., and am familiar with "spat" (never "spitted"), though it's definitely going out of favor. Most consider it an archaic usage, something to be found in Shakespeare or other older works than in anything more modern.

I suspect that most writers would use "spit" without stopping to consider what the proper past-tense form was, just a knee-jerk response. When you say "He spit at me", you don't typically stop to think "is that present tense or past"? Thus you take the shortcut and use the present tense, since it seems to be a more natural fit. (though that's just a guess on my part.)

Replies:   StarFleetCarl  REP
StarFleetCarl

@Crumbly Writer

spitted


The only time I've ever heard that word used was in relation to a barbeque - instead of saying, "Have you put the hog on the spit yet?", they said, "Is the hog spitted yet?"

I realize we're talking about two different things now, but that's also the joy of the English language.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@StarFleetCarl

they said, "Is the hog spitted yet?"

I'm impressed. They know their grammar.
They were not using the past tense of the verb 'spit', they were forming the past tense of a newly invented word - the noun 'spit' shoehorned into service as a verb.
Obeying the rule that newly created words should always be regular, they correctly created the form 'spitted'.

Replies:   graybyrd
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

Drug never gained much acceptance and would be considered a sign of ignorance by most.

If you are a drug user you may get arrested.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

If you are a drug user you may get arrested.


That depends on your drug of choice. Mine is caffeine.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

That depends on your drug of choice. Mine is caffeine.

Mine are endorphins, which I activate with various illicit drugs and dangerous activities.

graybyrd
Updated:

@Ross at Play

And if the skipper runs his boat aground on the spit, are they spitted? As all he and the crew could see was open water and breaking waves, the first mate dove to check. "Sure enough," he yelled after surfacing: "we're stuck!"

Ross at Play

@graybyrd

And if the skipper runs his boat aground on the spit, are they spitted?

In that situation, the noun I would press into service as a verb would be 'ground' not 'spit'.
I would say they were grounded.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Ross at Play

As a skipper, I'd say "aground" and order the mate to deploy an anchor abaft to prevent further grounding as the tide veers. But (tongue firmly acheek) the craft remained firmly aspit. Spat upon the sands, one might say. Upon receipt of the report, the owner shat.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@KimLittle

I spat on the floor after the baby spit up in my mouth.


Over the years, dads have learned why it is a bad idea to hold their sons above their heads with their mouths open. :)

REP

@Crumbly Writer

(though that's just a guess on my part.)


Probably a good guess. I sounds like the person is describing the action of the event from their POV at the time it happened, which would be present tense.

REP

@graybyrd

are they spitted


That would depend on whether the spit of land skewered the boat. :)

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

And if the skipper runs his boat aground on the spit, are they spitted?

Nope. They're "spat" outta luck!

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

"Abaft"? How does one deploy an anchor (or anything) abaft?

Replies:   Ross at Play  sejintenej  REP
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

"Abaft"? How does one deploy an anchor (or anything) abaft?

Quoting from the Oxford Dictionary
abaft
(specialist)
in or behind the stern (= back end) of a ship.

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

in or behind the stern

Aft is toward the rear of the ship, he said sternly.

Replies:   graybyrd  Ernest Bywater
graybyrd

@richardshagrin

Ayup. Aft is toward the stern; abaft is beyond. Fore and aft = stem to stern.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Quoting from the Oxford Dictionary
abaft
(specialist)
in or behind the stern (= back end) of a ship.

Damn! Despite living in a fishing community, having a father and brother in the Navy and a brother-in-law in the Coast Guard and having lived (in my younger days) in another fishing community on Long Island, I've never heard the term "abaft". I assumed it was a typo, but I couldn't figure what you might have mistyped.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

Ayup. Aft is toward the stern; abaft is beyond. Fore and aft = stem to stern.

I was familiar with both fore and aft, but had never encountered "abaft" either directly or in my readings.

Guess I can quit for the week, since I've learned my 'one new thing'.

Replies:   sejintenej
docholladay

I would think it would depend on local usage rather than proper usage standards. Either one can be understood or translated by the individual reader easily.

Most of us now I believe do that translation process daily now anyways for one reason or another.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

"Abaft"? How does one deploy an anchor (or anything) abaft?


Given he's already spitted he'd need a rib

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

I've never heard the term "abaft". I assumed it was a typo, but I couldn't figure what you might have mistyped

I've heard it but would never use it. As for the definition that it is beyond the transom (or perhaps beyond the end of the mizzen boom on a yawl but not a ketch) surely that is far too complicated and unnecessary?

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

I was familiar with both fore and aft,

There is also a slang word sounding like forrard meaning towards the bow. I don't know how (and if) it is spelt

There is almost an entire new language referring to watercraft

docholladay

@sejintenej

There is almost an entire new language referring to watercraft


To some extents every profession or trade has its own terminology for many everyday functions. Those in the profession or trade can understand each other easily while to the rest of us its a foreign language. It is fun at times trying to figure out what the terms mean, while a few have become common terms, for example 86.

graybyrd

@sejintenej

There is almost an entire new language referring to watercraft


Consider that mankind has been going to sea for at least 2,000 years (recall the biblical references) and the experience of those years created a lexicon of nautical terms suited to purpose. The words are precise and unique, for when orders are given they must be carried out immediately and accurately. There is no allowance for delay or confusion. Much of it did fade away with the sailing ships, but more remains.

As for "forrard", no ... "forward" may be slurred as "fo'ard" but the full word is intended. "Leeward" is pronounced "loo'ard."

There are no stairs on a ship; they are ladders. No floors; they are decks. Neither a cabin nor a cockpit has a floor, but a sole. Floors on a wooden ship are structural timbers of a certain kind. Never a toilet, but a head. Never go downstairs, but go below. No kitchen but a galley; no bed but a berth; coal and oil goes in a bunk. A sailing vessel can be caught in irons, not a good thing. A ship can heel, list, or fall off. And so on. A lubber is an ignorant idiot; a lubber line is the guiding line on a ship's compass. And so on. If one doesn't know the language, it's prudent to keep one's silence; failure to respect the language is lubberly.

Replies:   sejintenej
REP

@Crumbly Writer

How does one deploy an anchor (or anything) abaft


With a rowboat. :)

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Aft is toward the rear of the ship, he said sternly.


The most interesting thing about this Is I've known a lot of professional sailors, and they always used the word abaft to mean something on-board the ship but towards the stern of the ship, and anything past the stern was astern of the ship. They were also very intense about what was a ship and what was a boat and you never called one by the other term - or else you were in big trouble.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

There is also a slang word sounding like forrard meaning towards the bow. I don't know how (and if) it is spelt

Strangely enough, that was one I'm (at least) familiar with, even if I'd never use it myself. My years of reading old 19th century yarns kept me up on out-of-date terms. Which makes my complete ignorance of Abaft all the more ... abaffling?

Or, as Robin would say while scaling the side of a building in no apparent hurry to get anywhere: "Holy Thesaurus! Casting abaft is enough to baffle batlings, Batman."

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The most interesting thing about this Is I've known a lot of professional sailors, and they always used the word abaft to mean something on-board the ship but towards the stern of the ship, and anything past the stern was astern of the ship.

Now that is the best definition I've heard. I can now understand what it means, and when you'd use it instead of other similar terms. Still, I've never been aboard a Hobie Cat and had anyone yell, "grab that duct tape from the great abaft!"

Speaking of great opening lines, that would surely invoke curiosity about the story. ;)

doctor_wing_nut

Are we being pun-ished for reading this thread ? ; )

I do find it interesting. I wondered where 'dove' went. I don't believe I've ever said dived.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

what was a ship and what was a boat

On the Great Lakes between US and Canada, the very large "Lakers" are called boats, not ships.

awnlee jawking

@doctor_wing_nut

You, sir, are not a chancer if you've never ducked and dived ;)

AJ

Replies:   doctor_wing_nut
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

How many of these 'boats' play netball in Los Angeles? :)

AJ

doctor_wing_nut

@awnlee jawking

I just never said it. As for the rest, well ... mum's the word.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

boats, not ships.


I'm not exactly sure where the line is drawn, but during WW2 Destroyers and anything smaller were 'boats' while Cruisers and anything bigger were 'ships.' Submarines were also classed as 'boats.'

WW2 Destroyers weighted in at 1,000 to 4,000 tons of displacement while Cruisers usually came in at over 4,000 tons of displacement, yet a few light cruisers were under 4,000 tons

Crumbly Writer

@doctor_wing_nut

Are we being pun-ished for reading this thread ? ; )

I do find it interesting. I wondered where 'dove' went. I don't believe I've ever said dived.

We've already dived into the dove trove, and surfaced with nothing but a wet face (sorry, no puns come to mind for that).

sejintenej

@REP

How does one deploy an anchor (or anything) abaft

With a rowboat. :)

or a rib.
No, it is not what God took from Eve but a Rigid Inflatable Boat :)

sejintenej
Updated:

@graybyrd


There are no stairs on a ship; they are ladders. No floors; they are decks. Neither a cabin nor a cockpit has a floor, but a sole. Floors on a wooden ship are structural timbers of a certain kind. Never a toilet, but a head. Never go downstairs, but go below. No kitchen but a galley; no bed but a berth; coal and oil goes in a bunk. A sailing vessel can be caught in irons, not a good thing. A ship can heel, list, or fall off. And so on. A lubber is an ignorant idiot; a lubber line is the guiding line on a ship's compass. And so on. If one doesn't know the language, it's prudent to keep one's silence; failure to respect the language is lubberly.


Bit of a language problem when I got a berth on

http://www.golfbytourmiss.com/gbtm/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Georg-Stage.jpg

for the Tall Ships race in 1956

Replies:   graybyrd  samuelmichaels
graybyrd

@sejintenej

Lovely ship!

samuelmichaels

@sejintenej

Wow! Beautiful.

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