exclamation of amazement [non-Christian]

Status
Not open for further replies.
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    From the Oxford Dictionary: Cowabunga 1950s: first popularized by a character on the US television programme Howdy Doody (1947–60). It later became associated with surfing culture and was further popularized by use on the US television cartoon programme Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987–96).
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Oh, I've definitely heard it used by others (and probably by myself at some point) who are not Australian, I just associate it with that country strongly, whether accurately or not.
    It's Cockney, as I said above. The Aussies got if from the Poms who were deported there.:)

    Edit. Sorry, what I meant was is that the UK convicts used it in Oz and it therefore became part of Aus/E.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    And then of course there are the 'Holy . . . ' exclamations uttered (I believe exclusively) by Robin in the classic 1960s Batman series.

    These are a few of the 359 such exclamations listed here:

    354. Holy Transistors
    353. Holy Zorro
    352. Holy Standstills
    351. Holy Vat
    350. Holy Madness
    349. Holy Living End
    348. Holy Weaponry
    347. Holy Sky Rocket
    346. Holy Roert Louis Stevenson
    345. Holy Hot Foot
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    1) Aren't "Cripes!", "Crikey (on a bikey)!", "Cheese and crackers!" etc. attempts to avoid offending devout Christians?
    2) For Protestants, "Thou shall not take the name of the LORD thy GOD in vain." is the third commandment; for Catholics, it's the second commandment.
    3 ) The meaning of the commandment was, I thought, that Christians should not call on their Deity in a non-religious context ("As God is my witness", "I swear to God", etc.) - ?
    4) I wonder which a politically correct devout Christian would find more offensive: "For God's/Christ's sake!" or "For fuck's sake!"
     
    Last edited:

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    'Yahweh' is the Jewish name for their version of God.:) Christians refer to 'God' or 'the Lord'.
    Thanks. I'd been unaware of that until I checked the word in the dictionary before I started the thread. But, come to think of it, I don't remember seeing "Yahweh" in books and stories about the New Testament, so I should have immediately realized it at that time. It's because while "Yahweh" is translated into Japanese using Japanese Katakana characters and is pronounced similarly to the English word, "God" and "the Lord" are both translated using a Chinese character that simply means the uncapitalized "god". A Chinese character that means "(one's) master" is also used for "the Lord".
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You might also see Yahweh written as Jehovah. (There is a hymn that starts, 'Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah'.)
    1) Aren't "Cripes!", "Crikey (on a bikey)!", "Cheese and crackers!" etc. attempts to avoid offending devout Christians?
    2) For Protestants, "Thou shall not take the name of the LORD thy GOD in vain." is the third commandment; for Catholics, it's the second commandment.
    3 ) The meaning of the commandment was, I thought, that Christians should not call on their Deity as in a non-religious context ("As God is my witness", "I swear to God", etc.) - ?
    4) I wonder which a politically correct devout Christian would find more offensive: "For God's/Christ's sake!" or "For fuck's sake!"
    (1) Yes, not only to avoid offending Christians, but also offending other Christians. In other words they are also used by Christians.
    (4) As a Christian, I would think the former is more offensive. I still wince when Gordon Ramsay says 'Jesus!' or 'Christ!' as exclamations.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    One can only hope that someone who says "Yowie!" will not be misheard by a devout Jew, some of whom use terms like "Master of the universe" to refer to their Deity. Mishearings and mispronunciations can innocently lead to misunderstandings with unintended conseuences.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    No BE speaker is going to object to "Gosh!" Despite its etymology it has no religious connotation in current BE...
    Not true, or at least it wasn't 30 years ago. I once wrote a letter-to-the-editor of a provincial newspaper and had the Gosh (deliberately introduced as a naive and slightly sarcastic response) edited out.

    But look, Meijin, all round the world, most exclamations stronger than Well! are either obscene, scatological or blasphemous in one form or another. So you're probably not going to avoid offending somebody. In general you can take it that virtually every English exclamation beginning "Cr..." is a euphemism for Christ, and every one beginning "G..." (as well as many beginning "S...") are derived from God('s).

    Give up your vain search and if you want to use exclamatory words, just avoid the most explicit ones.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Not necessarily, Keith.

    As I mentioned before, "Yikes" isn't derived from anything of either sort (it's either from "yoicks" or from "yipes" -- both mentioned in a link I referred to earlier as onomatopoeic sounds from dogs and hunting).

    Also, "wow" is not exclusively American. See this thread: "Wow!" British Equivalent Some British people do say "wow." So do Australians.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    and had the Gosh (deliberately introduced as a naive and slightly sarcastic response) edited out.
    OK. No BE speaker is going to object to "Gosh!" on religious grounds. A provincial newspaper editor 30 years ago might have objected to naivety and sarcasm. Enid Blyton had one of the Famous Five saying "Golly!" in 1942.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I wonder whether "Blow me!" mightn't have been an attempt to avoid "(Cor) blimey!" for "(May) God blind me!". - Re #53, wouldn't devout Jews find "Holy Moses!" offensive? - I suppose "Lawks a-mussy!" ("Lord have mercy!") and "Heavens to Betsy!" might have offensive roots, too. - "Gosh all whillikers!" is OK, I suppose, and to express amazement, "Stone the crows!" (adopted as the name of a rock group), although mostly British. - With some of these expressions, one is darned if one says them and darned if one doesn't. :)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Not necessarily, Keith.

    As I mentioned before, "Yikes" isn't derived from anything of either sort (it's either from "yoicks" or from "yipes" -- both mentioned in a link I referred to earlier as onomatopoeic sounds from dogs and hunting).

    Also, "wow" is not exclusively American. See this thread: "Wow!" British Equivalent Some British people do say "wow." So do Australians.
    Yes, the but the Brits got 'wow' from you. I never use it but the younger generation does, so I think it's a pretty good all-rounder.

    Never said ' yikes' in my life: an Americanism as far as I'm concerned.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I wonder whether "Blow me!" mightn't have been an attempt to avoid "(Cor) blimey!" for "(May) God blind me!". - Re #53, wouldn't devout Jews find "Holy Moses!" offensive? - I suppose "Lawks a-mussy!" ("Lord have mercy!") and "Heavens to Betsy!" might have offensive roots, too. - "Gosh all whillikers!" is OK, I suppose, and to express amazement, "Stone the crows!" (adopted as the name of a rock group), although mostly British. - With some of these expressions, one is darned if one says them and darned if one doesn't. :)
    I was just adding to the 'Holy..... ' thing. If I were religious I might find 'Holy Moses ' offensive, I agree.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    And then in Joyce Carey's novel The Horse's Mouth there's the character Gully Jimson's expression "By Gee and by Jay!" (If I Remember Correctly).
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, the but the Brits got 'wow' from you.
    I think not. ;) OED:
    1. Chiefly Sc.
    a. An exclamation, variously expressing aversion, surprise or admiration, sorrow or commiseration, or mere asseveration.
    1513 G. Douglas in tr. Virgil Æneid vi. Prol. 19 Out on thir wander and spiritis, wow! thow cryis.

    2. In general use. Now chiefly expressing astonishment or admiration.
    1892 H. R. Haggard Nada v. 35 Wow! my father, of those two regiments not one escaped.
    The Americans perhaps got "wow" from the Scots. There weren't many Americans in 1513.
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    'Yahweh' is the Jewish name for their version of God.
    This is not true - or at least, it may be misleading. Yahweh is an attempt at a transliteration of the tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters which are used throughout (most of) the Hebrew Bible to refer to God. These four letters are thought to be the name of God, but this name is never pronounced by devout Jews. That being the case, one can only guess how that name was meant to be pronounced (since Hebrew does not mark vowels).

    I don't remember seeing "Yahweh" in books and stories about the New Testament
    And you also won't see the word Yahweh in any Jewish religious texts. Religious Jews must not speak the name of God, so there's no reason for them to transliterate the Hebrew name when writing in English (or any language that uses the Latin alphabet).

    I would say that the word "Yahweh" is not a Jewish name for anything - meaning, it's not a name that Jews use for anyone. It's a transliteration that non-Jews use to refer to the god of the Jews.


    That was pretty digressive, but my point is "Yahweh" is best used only in academic contexts, where, for instance, the historical transition from the worship of a deity called "El" to a deity called "Yahweh" might be relevant. You may offend someone if you say "Yahweh," so why risk it?
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Oddly, no-one's mentioned 'Good Lord!' - widely used in the UK, socially acceptable, can be invested with almost any emotion, doesn't sound childish or comic or twee or exaggerated (like 'Oh my God!) and I've never heard of anyone being offended by it ; I wouldn't hesitate to use it in any company, whereas (though I'm not religious and do swear a lot) I would avoid, for example, saying 'Jesus!' unless I was sure I was in equally profane company , because I know it would upset a lot of people.
    'Cripes', 'crikey' and 'crumbs' , despite a few people in denial earlier in the thread, must have been heard and read by everyone in the UK in the last few years , thanks to their use by our current Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson ; scarcely an article has been written about him which does not use one of these words , usually in the title (just Google 'Boris Johnson Cripes') - Private Eye's column 'A Message from Boris Johnson' usually begins 'Cripes!' Of course, he's a buffoon , so don't imitate him. 'Oh my God!', usually asssociated with vacuous young women (sorry, female friends) is also in part disliked because it's still seen (though increasingly widely used) as an intrusive American import (sorry, American friends) usurping our plain home-grown oaths- Boris Johnson himself, in a recent Guardian article, wrote it imitatively as "Omigaaaaad". Do men ever use it ? They certainly don't up here in the north of England.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    This is not true - or at least, it may be misleading. Yahweh is an attempt at a transliteration of the tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters which are used throughout (most of) the Hebrew Bible to refer to God. These four letters are thought to be the name of God, but this name is never pronounced by devout Jews. That being the case, one can only guess how that name was meant to be pronounced (since Hebrew does not mark vowels).
    OK, I'm not Jewish, so I'll take your word for it. :) In any case here's what Wiki has to say about 'Yahweh' (Jehovah: Jumpin' Jehovah?????). I agree that his name should not be taken in vain, in any case.

    Edit. Sorry, I meant 'Jumpin' Jehosophat'. That sounds disrespectful too, however.
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    There weren't many Americans in 1513.
    There were many more Americans than speakers of English. North Americans alone probably outnumbered all English speakers, bearing in mind that numbers overseas were very small and that many in Wales, Scotland and Ireland (including, I expect, my own forebears) could not speak English.

    For the British Isles, History Today says:
    A steady recovery from the steep population decline of two centuries of plague was only just beginning. England and Wales had perhaps 2.25 million people, Scotland and Ireland about a third of that number each.
    For North America, Wikipedia says:
    While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus, estimates range from a low of 2.1 million to 7 million people to a high of 18 million.
    If we add in the rest of America, the disparity is greater still:
    an estimate of approximately 37 million people in Mexico, Central and South America in 1492
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    In any case here's what Wiki has to say about 'Yahweh'...
    I'm drifting further off topic, but that article is written in a very strange style. For example, consider this bizarre pair of sentences: "There is considerable but not universal support for the view that the Egyptian inscriptions refer to Yahweh. This raises the question of how he made his way to the north." There is no one in the world who thinks that Yahweh "made his way north" - either people don't believe Yahweh exists (so he couldn't have made any way anywhere), or they don't believe He possibly could have traveled from Egypt to Israel (in that he's God, and that mundane sort of travel makes no sense for a being of such as He).

    This is neither proper academic style (which would discuss only the concept of an Israelite and Jewish god, but never personify the concept), nor a properly religious style (which would treat God as God, and not a wandering Egyptian (I mean Aramean*)). Instead, it seems to be written in the style of a fantasy novel, which seems much more offensive than the academic approach.


    *Deuteronomy 26:5 Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: "My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "Oh my god!" and OMG are very common in the US, among atheists.
    I often say "Oh, good gods" to indicate annoyance or disgust.
    'Crikey' is still quite popular down here. :)
    It always makes me think of Steve Wossface (the one who ran afoul of a stingray a while back). :)
    And then in Joyce Carey's novel The Horse's Mouth there's the character Gully Jimson's expression "By Gee and by Jay!" (If I Remember Correctly).
    "By God and by Jesus," I suppose....
    I'm afraid that my response to this, even if I was at the Ladies of Canterbury Cathedral Sewing Circle, would be Fucking hell! :cool:
    :D
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    1) Aren't "Cripes!", "Crikey (on a bikey)!", "Cheese and crackers!" etc. attempts to avoid offending devout Christians?
    I think it's a fundamentally wrong way to look at it. I think those versions are used by Christians to avoid saying things they feel in their heart are wrong to say. So it gives them a way to let off steam, but it doesn't explicitly violate what they've been taught since they were young.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    This thread has become a list, which our rules forbid.
    On the other hand, it may be useful.
    I am locking it but leaving it for future people to consult.

    If you want to know whether a single specific word fits one particular context, you are welcome to start a thread to ask about it. Be sure to tell people that you do not want a list of alternatives.

    Cagey,
    moderator
     
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    < Previous | Next >
    Top