The word itself has been in use since the 14th century when it originally meant the husks, residue or dregs, deriving from the Old French crappe meaning siftings. It was only in the 18th century that it came to mean excrement or defecate. For several centuries, it has been regarded as a more acceptable word than shit. The association with Thomas Crapper (1836-1910) is spurious. Nor did Thomas Crapper invent the flushing toilet, which was invented by John Harrington in 1596. Thomas Crapper ran a very successful plumbing business and was no inventor although he did hold a patent for the floating ballcock. His surname, however, has proved too much for folk etymologists to resist.