Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 12:41PM EDT by Don.

Added Oct 10, 2010 at 11:40PM EDT by Ice Cream Yay!.

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“Shitstorm”, a portmanteau of the words “shit” and “storm,” is an Internet slang term referring to a type of public outrage typically observed on social media platforms and web forums regarding controversial topics of discussion. Similar to a flamewar, a shitstorm is often accompanied by insulting interactions among those engaged.


The exact origin of the term is unclear. On November 7th, 2002, Urban Dictionary[1] user D’emon submitted an entry for “shit storm,” describing it as an unpleasant consequence of failure.


On February 3rd, 2004, Improv Resource Center Forums[4] member Eric Appel submitted a post titled “There’s a Shit-Storm Coming!,” referring to a series of upcoming comedy shows. On July 1st, 2006, Urban Dictionary[6] user Deboe submitted an entry for “shitstorm trooper,” defining it as a person who instigates conflict. On May 3rd, 2008, AR15 Forums[7] member Pit_146 posted a photograph of a weatherman pointing to the caption “Shitstorm!” (shown below).

On November 24th, “shitstorm” was added to the online dictionary Wiktionary, where it was defined as a type of public backlash. In September 2009, “shitstorm” was added to the Macmillan Dictionary[8] defined as “a situation in which people are very angry or there are a lot of problems.” On July 28th, 2010, The Onion[9] published a satirical article that professional basketball players Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade would be nicknamed “The Three-Headed Shitstorm.” On July 25th, 2011, DeviantArtist[10] kieranbaker submitted an image macro titled “That be a Shitstorm a Brewin,” featuring a bearded sailor with an ocean in the background (shown below).

In February 2012, the German website Anglizismus des Jahres[2] (“Anglicisms of the Year” in English), listed “shitstorm” as 2011’s top English contribution to the German language for filling “a gap in the German vocabulary” pertaining to public outcry on the Internet. On November 14th, YouTuber Octopimp uploaded an animation titled “Shitstorm,” featuring characters from the webcomic series Homestuck (shown below). On February 21st, 2014, a Facebook[5] page titled “Shitstorm” was launched, gaining upwards of 10,300 likes in the first month.

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External References

[1]Urban Dictionary – Shitstorm

[2]Anglizimus des Jahres – 2011

[3]Wiktionary – shitstorm

[4]Improv Resource Center – Theres a Shit-Storm Coming

[5]Facebook – Shitstorm

[6]UrbanDictionary – shitstorm trooper

[7]AR15 – Larue Dillo tools

[8]Macmillan Dictionary – shitstorm

[9]The Onion – James Bosh Wade Decide Nickname Will Be

[10]DeviantArt – That be a Shitstorm a Brewin

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