'the heck'


Hi everybody,
1. "You really scared the heck out of me."
Could you please explain the clear meaning for the above sentence.
I know 'scared' means afraid.
'heck' means an expression to show that you are annoyed.
I could not get the full & real meaning.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hi Er.Hanifa. Heck is a euphemism (or 'minced oath') for hell. So the slightly 'stronger' version of that sentence would be You really scared the hell out of me, i.e. you scared me very much.


    Senior Member
    According to various reference works 'heck' is a euphemistic expression for 'hell'. So, simply substituting 'hell' for 'heck' in your sentence you come up with what is hopefully a bit easier to understand. In other words 'you really scared me'.

    Using 'heck' as an interjection, eg 'oh heck !', can also indicate annoyance or irritation as you suspected.

    As an aside, I had always thought that 'heck' was a corruption of Hecate, the Greek Goddess Queen of the Underworld. So when you swore 'by heck', you were swearing by this queen. Just shows that one is never too old to learn. But I digress ...
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