heck/jeez

tpfumefx

Senior Member
Français - France
Good morning !

I don't really know the difference between "jeez" and "heck".

In a context like this one : "Jeez, don't yell at me - I'm just telling you what she said!"

Can i replace jeez with heck ? or that would change the meaning ?



Thanks.
 
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi tpf,

    To begin with, just want to point out that "heck" is much safer than "jeez" as euphemistic swear words go. "Jeez" is too close to "Jesus" for some (religious) people's comfort.

    As for interchangeability, that's kind of an interesting question. To my ear, "Jeez" sounds more natural in your sentence than "Heck." "Jeez" expresses protest, unhappiness, frustration--the kinds of things you'd feel if someone yelled at you unjustly. "Heck" expresses more of a "who cares?" attitude, as an abbreviation of "what the heck?!"

    A: Can I have a piece of cake? B: Heck, eat the whole thing if you want!

    Other opinions may differ, though.:)
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with The Artichoke about the use of the two words.

    Sometimes people who are fearful of offending devout Christians by using "jeez" (also spelled "geez") will use "sheesh".
     

    tpfumefx

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Thanks a lot,

    I heared that "jeez" is used when someone is surprised... is that correct?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks a lot,

    I heared that "jeez" is used when someone is surprised... is that correct?
    I suppose it could be, but I think it would have to be an at least slightly unpleasant surprise. I have been known to use the full profane version when someone startles me badly.:D
     

    tpfumefx

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    I agree, the woman in the movie was surprised and sad about an unpleasant event, so she used the word "jeez".:)

    But, i still don't understand "heck"... in a telephone call someone said to somebody "what the heck do you mean ?"

    What is the meaning of "heck" in this context ?
     

    Ann O'Rack

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK English
    ...

    But, i still don't understand "heck"... in a telephone call someone said to somebody "what the heck do you mean ?"

    What is the meaning of "heck" in this context ?
    Another way to put that would be "what on earth do you mean?". Both "heck" and "on earth" are not necessary for the meaning of the sentence but are added to accentuate the speaker's lack of comprehension.
     
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