One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Human excrement collected at night from buckets, cesspools, and outhouses and sometimes used as manure.
- ‘‘It may derive from the use of the land for trapping birds or eels, for parking horse drawn traps attending the annual horse races in Port Meadow which took place until 1880, or for dumping night soil from college privies or traps‘.’
- ‘A rash of market gardens developed in the small villages of Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, sending their produce in by carts, which brought back the night soil and manure on which productivity depended.’
- ‘Bulky organic manures can be supplied through farmyard manure, farm compost, town compost, night soil, sludge, green manure, etc.’
- ‘Gibson quotes a 19th century writer who recommended mixing night soil - the contents of the potty, with the drainings from a dung-hill - and pouring the result on the rose bed twice each winter.’
- ‘There were so many official crowded into the city, the roads were turned to mud and there wasn't enough night soil removal available, so we slipped in it at every turn.’
- ‘O'Neill himself was an ex-miner, a night soil carter and the leader of the local Municipal Employees Union.’
- ‘The night soil was transported to the countryside for fertilizer.’
- ‘His mother supported the children, all five of them, by carrying water and night soil for hire, a backbreaking labor that made her shorter by several inches.’
- ‘Other fertilizers - ash, turf, flax waste, pigeon dung, human night soil - either contained fewer nutrients or had to be expensively transported.’
- ‘In the early hours of the following morning, however, anyone who happened to be awake might have spotted a bluish light coming from the back lane behind Quarry Row, once the route for the night soil wagons, now parking for the residents.’
- ‘No chemicals for my child - no, I only feed her vegetables nourished with steaming piles of night soil.’
- ‘The association which is in charge of sweeping the city also sends out labourers for ‘piece’ jobs like removal of night soil.’
- ‘For example, ‘where in Japan, night soil could be used in lieu of rent, in England one had to pay to have it taken away’.’
night soil/ˈnīt ˌsoil/
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