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The HTML5 Shiv enables use of HTML5 sectioning elements in legacy Internet Explorer and provides basic HTML5 styling for Internet Explorer 6-9, Safari 4.x (and iPhone 3.x), and Firefox 3.x.
The term shiv originates from John Resig, who was thought to have used the word for its slang meaning, a sharp object used as a knife-like weapon, intended for Internet Explorer. Truth be known, John probably intended to use the word shim, which in computing means an application compatibility workaround. Rather than correct his mispelling, most developers familiar with Internet Explorer appreciated the visual imagery. And that, kids, is etymology.
PIE (Progressive Internet Explorer) makes Internet Explorer 6-9 capable of rendering several of the most useful CSS3 decoration features.
CSS3 promises to do away with all that! But as we all know, due to Internet Explorer's lack of support for any of these features, we must be patient and refrain from using them, and make do with the same old tedious techniques for the foreseeable future.