Gosh’n fishes

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Senior Member
Gosh’n fishes,’ she muttered under her breath, and went down gingerly, as if wading into a polluted pool. Her husband had built the cellar himself, rock-walling it for coolness. Every now and then a muskrat or woodchuck or mink would crawl into one of the wide chinks and die there. That was what must have happened, although she could never recall a stink this strong.

Source: Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Context: In this scene, Eva, an elderly and owner of the boarding house in the town, went into her cellar to fetch two jelly jars.

What does the expression mean? Is it just an expression of disgust (for the hedious smell)?

Pre Post Check:
Gosh is euphemism for God. I wonder why fishes in plural. I always recall being taught to say one fish and two fish.
I wonder the ubiquity of this expression.

Thank you.
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Never heard it ...but by now, I'm sure you've learned that is to be expected in Stephen King novels.

    There are many English expressions that hardly anybody uses.


    English - England
    The ‘Gosh’n fishes,’= "Ye gods and little fishes". A cry of surprise, indignation, exasperation or disgust.

    It originated some time in the 17th century. It is a set phrase and "fishes", the old plural of fish, is correct.

    See the "Words and Phrases from The Past" website: YE GODS AND LITTLE FISHES!

    It is a long time since I have heard it said but, back then, a friend used to use it regularly.
    Last edited:
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