Bleeding Ada!

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susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
I found "Bleeding Ada!" as an exclamation of surprise in Catherine Alliott's book A Crowded Marriage:

"Alex's jaw dropped as he regarded his sister-in-law on the bed [giving birth]. 'Bleeding Ada!' he gasped. In times of real crisis my husband reverted right back to prep school."

So who's the "Ada" in there, and is this euphemism (for "f* Jesus" or the like) used a lot?

Thanks!
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Ada is not a person!

    Yes, you are right: it is just a mild thing to say instead of swearing in polite company.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I'm confused. So what is Ada then? It was spelled with a capital A, so I assumed it was a -- possibly random -- person. Now you're saying it's not a person. It can't be something "vulgar" (like vagina) because this is a "proper" way to swear. So what is Ada, anyway? I'm thoroughly confused.
     

    MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    'bleeding' as part of swearing is the toned-down form of 'bloody'
    There was a time when even 'ruddy' - rhymes with 'bloody' - and was also used as a euphemistic substitute, but still considered 'too much' for polite company.

    That's why the G&S operetta had a name change, from Ruddygore to Ruddigore.

    No one knows how specific names used in cussing arose.
    Similarly - who is Ivy? : "It's agony, Ivy."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I'm more familiar with bleeding Nora, but I don't know where she comes from either. Neither name suggests any obvious Jiminy Cricket-like substitution.
     
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