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What is SHTF – Meaning, Examples and an extensive Explanation

What does the abbreviation SHTF or S.H.T.F. mean? It is used in the prepper scene and means that a disaster has occurred.

from Martin Gebhardt | Prepping | no comment yet | reading time 1 Min
Updated on 14 March 2024 51.562 views 92% found this guide helpful
What is SHTF – Meaning, Examples and an extensive Explanation

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • SHTF is the abbreviation for "Shit Hits The Fan", which means that a disaster has occurred.
  • When SHTF occurs, it is a disaster - such as wars, environmental disasters, blackouts, gas crises, terrorist attacks, EMP attacks, nuclear meltdowns, economic collapses or pandemics.
  • The abbreviation S.H.T.F. is particularly often associated with preppers. This is because preppers extensively prepare for an emergency - for example, with a prepper list or a bug out bag.
  • SHTF is also used as a hashtag (#SHTF) on social media. This marks your contributions, and you should expect to be associated with the prepper scene.
  • According to Dictionary.com, the term has been around since at least 1930. SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) has referred since then to problems (Shit) that accumulate and grow increasingly (spreads).

Occasionally, I receive emails from people who want to prepare for specific emergencies.

They surf the web and come across the term SHTF. Then, I get an email like this:

“Hello Martin, I need advice. What does S.H.T.F. mean?”

And that's what this article is for: so that everyone now knows what the abbreviation SHTF means.

Meaning of SHTF

You may have already heard about prepping (What is Prepping?) and stumbled upon the abbreviation "SHTF", right? If you don't know the abbreviation, you're probably wondering what it means.

What does SHTF mean?

SHTF is the English abbreviation for "Shit Hits The Fan". "Fan" does not refer to a sports club fan. "Fan" means fan or blower. And when shit hits a fan, you can imagine how such an event looks like. A catastrophe has occurred.

In Germany, people say "The shit is hitting the fan" or simply: disaster. Because that's what the abbreviation means: something has turned for the worse.

When SHTF occurs, it's a catastrophe - such as environmental disasters, blackouts, gas crises, terrorist attacks, economic collapses or pandemics.

An SHTF situation is, for example, a massive flood
An SHTF situation is, for example, a massive flood

The abbreviation S.H.T.F. is particularly common in the context of preppers. This is because preppers extensively prepare for emergencies - for example, with a Prepper List or a Bug Out Bag.

The examples I'm about to show you will explain this in more detail.

Examples of SHTF

Here are some examples to understand the context of SHTF:

Learn how to choose the right refuge, what options you have to get there, and what equipment you absolutely need when SHTF arrives.

Now that SHTF has occurred, there's no time to panic. Think. It's time to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Who uses SHTF?

Preppers primarily use this term. They use it in the context of the end of the world. People who do prepping also use SHTF as a noun for "the apocalypse".

When SHTF, the apocalypse happens
When SHTF, the apocalypse happens

SHTF also exists as a hashtag (#SHTF) on social media. By using it, you mark your posts and must expect to be associated with the prepper scene.

But keep in mind that the spelled-out sentence is quite vulgar. ;-)

Where does SHTF come from?

According to Dictionary.com, the term has been around since at least 1930. SHTF (Shit hits the fan) has referred to problems (shit) that accumulate and grow (spread) ever since.

Fun fact: The original fan was not just a small stand fan, but an agricultural machine that spread manure on a large scale over the field.

Summary

So, SHTF means that the ultimate catastrophe has occurred.

You can now understand and even use the term "SHTF" - when discussing or on social media.

And now?

If you want to be prepared for a SHTF situation, then find here my comprehensive prepper list to be protected against emergencies.

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE