Devil made me do it

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Midland, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Midland Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    Hello, friends.

    Do you often use the expression "The devil made me do it"?

    I know what it means as defined by the dictionary, but I want to know the following:

    (1) How serious a mistake did you make when you say this expression?
    Do you casually use it when you made a mistake of any kind that you usually don't?

    (A few months ago, a man from Peru molested a small Japanese girl and killed her. When the Peruvian pedophile was arrested, he said something like "The devil went into me." Is it the Spanish version of this English expression "The devil made me do it"?)

    (2) Does it usually convey the Christian idea? I mean the "devil" as in the world of the Bible. Does it sound queer if a non-Christian uses it?

    Thanking you for your cultural input!

  2. maxiogee Banned

    Often? No.
    Ever? No.
    I'm a big boy now and I take responsibility for my own actions. :D
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    There was a comedian in the 70's - Flip Wilson - who did an impersonation of a woman who used this phrase as an excuse for any misbehavior. They were all minor infractions: eating what she shouldn't, buying a dress when she didn't need it, etc. It became a humorous catchphrase for a while as a rationalization for doing something against our better judgment.

    I haven't heard people saying it much in the last decade or two, although people my age (mid-40's to 60 or so) would immediately recognize it as a playful excuse, especially if followed by a smile.

    On the other hand, there are people who are extremely unbalanced mentally who say this sincerely, so it depends entirely on the source and the context.
  4. DavyBCN Senior Member

    UK - English

    It really is not a common everyday expression. The example you give shows its true purpose - as an excuse for doing something bad by saying it was not in your nature until the devil took you over. Yeah, right!

    As a schoolboy I used the much better excuse - "It wasn't me Sir. It was the other boy".
  5. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    The devil made me do it.
    This is only used for utterly minor infractions and would never be considered as a response to anything that actually hurt anybody.

    It is a joke statement.

  6. Midland Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    Many thanks for your comments.

    I understand that "the devil made me do it" is not often used, is used for minor mistakes and is used as a kind of joke statement.

    Instead of this expression, I have another expression that I believe may express the same idea, which is "What's gotten into ...?"

    But since it is a different expression, I will open up a new thread.

    Thank you.

  7. dylanG3893

    dylanG3893 Senior Member

    United States
    Taken litterally, some very crazy froot-loops (froot-loop = crazy person) who might kill someone and say that the devil made them do it, but used as an expression I have to say, throughout my whole life I have never used it at all :|.

    But, maybe some religious people may say it (as an expression) in a less evil and demonic way than one may imagine.
  8. paradoxa4

    paradoxa4 Senior Member

    Some people claim that the devil makes them do things, that means what that means, but people don't say that often, unless they want to mean what it means (If you'd forgive me the redundancy).
  9. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Are you familiar with Arthur Miller's play The Crucible (1952) about the Salem Witch Trials in the late 17th century? There many characters say, 'The Devil made me do it' in all seriousness (but in an attempt to deceive others).
  10. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    This is something I only heard in an interview with a woman who drowned her children.This is how she explained her actions.
  11. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    In this case, it is meant literally, whereas the first post in this thread refers to an expression that was popularized by an American comedian the day before yesterday in the 1970s. (See post #3.)

    I'm not quite sure what is meant by paradoxa4, who revived the thread.
  12. paradoxa4

    paradoxa4 Senior Member

    It's going to sound weird, but I hope it's still understandable.

    "I meant that people who say that are religious and they claim that the devil made them do a horrible thing, like raping and then killing a baby girl, so, when they say THE DEVIL MADE ME DO THIS, they meant what it literally means, you don't say that to mean: Ops, I made a mistake"

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