'For' in 'for crying out loud'

C.S.Hy

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
In the phrase ' for crying out loud', what does 'for' mean? Or, what's the logic that this phrase is used to show 'unhappiness'?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Good question. I can’t explain it exactly, but it’s a standard construction for expressions of that kind:

    for heaven’s sake! / for Pete’s sake! / for the love of God! / for crying out loud!​
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It is doubly difficult to understand 'for crying out loud' because that is a minced oath. In other words, words have been altered to avoid disrespectfulness to God. The original form is 'for Christ's sake'.

    The expression would have traditionally come, for example, at the end of a prayer: for Christ's sake, for the sake of Christ our Lord, in the name of Jesus etc. In other words, the prayers are made so that Christ may be honoured, or in the interest of Christ. The expression is still used like this in religious contexts.

    In some other contexts, the phrase is lifted out and used as an exclamation. This is considered swearing by some, and hence we get minced oaths.
     

    C.S.Hy

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    It is doubly difficult to understand 'for crying out loud' because that is a minced oath. In other words, words have been altered to avoid disrespectfulness to God. The original form is 'for Christ's sake'.

    The expression would have traditionally come, for example, at the end of a prayer: for Christ's sake, for the sake of Christ our Lord, in the name of Jesus etc. In other words, the prayers are made so that Christ may be honoured, or in the interest of Christ. The expression is still used like this in religious contexts.

    In some other contexts, the phrase is lifted out and used as an exclamation. This is considered swearing by some, and hence we get minced oaths.
    Thank you natkretep.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I was referring to origin of the form, and tried to explain the strange construction - which was the question the OP had. Lots of us use phrases without bothering about where they come from or how they originated.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just to prove Nat's point - I'd never realised it was a minced oath until today. Thanks, Nat!:)
     
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