Shit sandwich is a way of easing on the intensity of bad news, by surrounding it in layers of good news, creating a message that starts and ends with pleasant sounding double talk, but conveys an unpleasant message.
A “shit sandwich” is mostly something you can’t influence, only endure; swallow your pride and eat it quietly.
The expression had been present in English for quite some time, since before the turn of the millennium, first recorded between 1965 and 1970.
The phrase appeared on Urban Dictionary for the first time in 2003.
Spread and Usage
Although “shit sandwich” was already in use for about 35-40 years by the 2000’s, the popularity of the expression had grown immensely thanks to the animated television series South Park.
The comedy broadcasted an episode in 2004, titled Douche and Turd which presents viewers about the peculiar situation, the residents face during the election in South Park, as the two candidates are a Douche and a Turd Sandwich; a reference to the expression in title and to the scenario of the episode.
The inhabitants of the mountain town have no choice but to eat the “shit sandwich” and vote for the lesser evil.
- Idonethisblog.com – The Shit Sandwich and Other Terrible Ways to Give Feedback
- Urban Dictionary – Shit Sandwich