Great Caesar's Ghost!

twinklestar

Senior Member
Chinese
#1
Hi! Could someone please explain what 'Great Ceasar's Ghost' mean? I suppose an exclaimation. Is it slang?

I learned this from The Simpsons, an American Cartoon. Bart received a gift from his father, say, "Great Caesar's Ghost! A talking Krusty doll"

Thanks!
 
  • Australia, English
    #2
    Hi Twinklestar, welcome to the forums!

    "Caesar" refers to Julius Caesar, the famous Roman politician assassinated after he took complete power in the Roman republic. In William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar", his ghost appears to Brutus, one of the assassins.

    As for the expression "Great Caesar's Ghost", it is a rather old expression that is a euphemism for "good God", in the days when saying "God" as an oath was considered very rude. It is rarely used these days, and was probably used by the writers from The Simpsons for comic effect.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    #3
    Curious a. L. is correct about the probable origin of the exclamation. It was made famous in the Superman comic books and television series, in which editor Perry White used it often.
     

    uqula

    Senior Member
    Polish
    #5
    Hello,

    Could anybody please divulge to me the meaning of the following explanation:

    Great Ceasar's Ghost! (in the original version of the text, the word 'ceasar' is spelled with 'ea' but I think there's a spelling mistake and it should be 'ae' instead. Correct me if I am wrong).

    This is the context. Al Bundy is enjoying his Sunday and seems to be very content until the moment he finds out that Peg's family is coming. Than he shouts out:

    - Oh God, you're family's coming!!! How much time do I have?... [knocking on the door] Great Ceasar's Ghost, they're there! Have you made the preparations?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    #6
    It's just an interjection, an expression of surprise or consternation; it is not widely used. In this context, it's meant to convey an overly dramatic, reaction of distress or concern to a presumably serious and even troubling situation. If memory serves, one of the characters from the Superman comic books is the most famous user of this phrase.

    (Fine, I'll admit that I know exactly who is famous for uttering the phrase: It is Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet.)
     

    uqula

    Senior Member
    Polish
    #7
    It's just an interjection, an expression of surprise or consternation; it is not widely used. In this context, it's meant to convey an overly dramatic, reaction of distress or concern to a presumably serious and even troubling situation. If memory serves, one of the characters from the Superman comic books is the most famous user of this phrase.

    (Fine, I'll admit that I know exactly who is famous for uttering the phrase: It is Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet.)
    Thanks for the information above. Just out of curiosity, Perry White is famous for uttering this phrase, but it is not his invention, it existed in popular culture before Superman ? ;)
     

    TerryMcC

    New Member
    English
    #11
    I can’t add anything about how old this phrase is, but it certainly has been around longer than Perry White, in fact it was the title of a newspaper strip that was published from 1913 to 1914 called “Great Caesar's Ghost & Great Caesar’s Goat,” by A.E. Hayward.

    And I would post a link so you can take a look at this old strip but I am told I have to make at least 30 posts before I can do that, so you’ll just have to hunt it down yourself.

    Good luck!
     
    English - United States
    #13
    Hi! Could someone please explain what 'Great Ceasar's Ghost' mean? I suppose an exclaimation. Is it slang?

    I learned this from The Simpsons, an American Cartoon. Bart received a gift from his father, say, "Great Caesar's Ghost! A talking Krusty doll"

    Thanks!
    Hi
    Hi! Could someone please explain what 'Great Ceasar's Ghost' mean? I suppose an exclaimation. Is it slang?

    I learned this from The Simpsons, an American Cartoon. Bart received a gift from his father, say, "Great Caesar's Ghost! A talking Krusty doll"

    Thanks!
    hi there. I I know it is 9 years since this question was asked. I just came across the phrase in Mark Twains LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI.
     
    #14
    I've heard it said that the first recorded reference to Caesar's posthumous activities is made by Plutarch. Plutarch • Life of Caesar

    As to the coiner or the first popularizer of the expression, I do not know.
    Agreed. Plutarch describes the encounter between Caesar's ghost and Brutus and Shakespeare based the ecounter between them in his 'Julius Caesar' on Plutarch's writings, but as to who first coined the expression.....
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    #15
    When they made a new TV version of Superman (in the '90s) called "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" they updated Perry White's line to "Great Shades of Elvis" because he was a big Elvis fan in that version. (Here "shade" means "ghost". I don't know why it's plural.)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    #16
    When they made a new TV version of Superman (in the '90s) called "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" they updated Perry White's line to "Great Shades of Elvis" because he was a big Elvis fan in that version. (Here "shade" means "ghost". I don't know why it's plural.)
    Perhaps the "Great Shades of Elvis" were the sunglasses Elvis wore (as most celebrities did).

    Or more likely, "Great Shade of Elvis" sounds awkward, and "Shades" made it sound better.
     
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