Pete's Sake / Pity's sake

  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's a very very informal expression, Rosita ~ spell it how you like. I do:)

    EDIT: I mean for Pete's/Petey's sake.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    The "Pete" referred to is commonly held to be Saint Peter.

    It possibly morphed into "for pity's sake" in the mouths of people who did not want to utter an oath, however mild.

    I have never heard "for Petey's sake"; it sounds ridiculous.
     

    preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    If a non-native speaker said it, as in with a Spanish accent,"Pity's sake" might sound a whole lot like "Petey's Sake".

    just a thought.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    These are two quite different expressions.

    For pity's sake means, quite literally, for the sake of pity: out of concern, compassion, sympathy for others. Without sake, for pity, dates from 1484; for pity's sake, from 1619.

    For Pete's sake is a euphemistic version of for God's sake, just as in for the love of Pete. Is this a reference to St Peter? The OED doesn't suggest so, but it may be. The first example is from 1903, which rather knocks on the head the thought that Pete morphed into pity.

    Have they become blurred?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    These are two quite different expressions.

    [...]

    Have they become blurred?
    Some people do make the distinction, but it does seem to have become blurred at the edges. In Google news, "For Pete's sake" is an expression of exasperation; an example from about 132 hits:
    Katie: Oh for pete's sake! Justin Bieber is NOT dead! He was just on SNL, you morons! Lady Gaga: “I'm Celibate. Celibacy's Fine.” (CMR - ‎Apr 12, 2010‎).
    (Sometimes Pete's is capitalized, about a third of the time it isn't.)
    Of the 15 hits for "for pity's sake" half appear to be using it as an equivalent of "for Pete's sake".
    He's a commando for pity's sake – I'm sure he can hold his breath for longer than three mere seconds. Nathan Spencer – King of The Swingers Games Asylum - ‎Apr 27, 2010‎.
    But the other half seem use it to invoke pity as OED expects:
    Please, for pity's sake, someone knock down the lighting and soften the focus. Leave the man some dignity. Susan Writer: Thinking Out LoudFrederick News Post (subscription) - ‎Apr 8, 2010‎
    It would be a pity if the distinction were lost.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I (think I) use for Petey's sake when I mean for pity's sake but want to take the melodramatic edge off it.

    (That probably doesn't help much:D)
     

    Rosi I. S. Parker

    Member
    Spanish-Nicaragua, English USA
    I am overwhelmed w/the excellent replies I have gotten. Thank you, so very much!

    I love phrases origins. English, when eloquently used, is very beautiful! And, though, is not my native tongue, I try to speak and write it well. Spanish, my native tongue, is a beautiful language, and I'm finding that English is catching up to be just as beautiful as it.

    Ooh, "it" at the end, there, sounded funny ... In Spanish it would have been "her;" language, being a feminine noun ... A new thread, perhaps?

    Blessings, to all.
    Rosita
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I understand the meaning of "for the pity's sake". But What does "pity" mean?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    ... for the pity's sake
    'Pity' has no meaning these days in this expression, no more than 'Pete' has meaning in 'for Pete's sake'.
    What it used to mean, I suppose, is 'if you have pity for me' or 'have pity on me'. Both are fairly strong expressions in my vocabulary, of irritation and annoyance. They are more acceptable versions of "For fucks sake,..."
    "For pity's sake, will you stop talking about Brexit!"
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    'Pity' has no meaning these days in this expression, no more than 'Pete' has meaning in 'for Pete's sake'.
    What it used to mean, I suppose, is 'if you have pity for me' or 'have pity on me'. Both are fairly strong expressions in my vocabulary, of irritation and annoyance. They are more acceptable versions of "For fucks sake,..."
    "For pity's sake, will you stop talking about Brexit!"
    Thanks a lot :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think "pity" would originally have had religious connotations, as when we ask God to have pity or mercy on us poor sinners.

    For the love of God and for pity's sake seem to me quite similar in meaning, but the first is much stronger. Perhaps "For Pete's sake" was adopted as being more secular and rather jocular.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    It’s been a while since I last heard ‘for pity’s sake’. Most people here say ‘for Pete’s sake’ or use some other ejaculation of exasperation. :rolleyes: :D
    Thanks a lot!
    I think "pity" would originally have had religious connotations, as when we ask God to have pity or mercy on us poor sinners.

    For the love of God and for pity's sake seem to me quite similar in meaning, but the first is much stronger. Perhaps "For Pete's sake" was adopted as being more secular and rather jocular.
    Thanks a lot!
    If "pity" means "concern, compassion, sympathy" how it can would originally have had religious connotations, please?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The entire Christian religion goes on endlessly about having "concern, compassion, sympathy", etc. Christians are encouraged to have "concern, compassion, sympathy", etc. How could it not have "something to do" with religion?
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    The entire Christian religion goes on endlessly about having "concern, compassion, sympathy", etc. Christians are encouraged to have "concern, compassion, sympathy", etc. How could it not have "something to do" with religion?
    Yes, it has. Thanks a lot!
     
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