piss poor, pot to piss in

The use of piss as an intensifier appears in the mid twentieth century U. S. slang. The first recorded use is in Ezra Pound’s Cantos LII–LXXI, lxix., which contains the line:

Bingham, Carrol of Carrolton Gone piss-rotten for Hamilton Cabot, Fisher Ames [etc.].

Why exactly piss is used in this fashion is uncertain, but it’s probably for the shock value.

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