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The original form was 'God's Flesh'. It was a favourite cry of frustration of Charles II.


In the OT such a thing was executable, but in those days the survival of the human race was seen as being at stake in terms of preserving the truth, and the ancient idea was that the name of something was more than a name, and it involved the actual name of God and not 'God', and was an actual curse and oath of rebellion and not an expletive. The expletives came out of that in turn.

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Thanks for reminding me - it came from reading Charles II. When he saw his royal portrait he said, "Odds fish, I must be a homely man." or something similar. I think Jeepers originated from saying "Jesus" as a call to condemn someone for one.


I haven't heard if the fellow condemned in Saudi was successful in his appeal to the King.


I've instilled in my grandson the notion that God is not to be trivialized and asked to do a favor as if He's a servant. That's what taking the name in vain means.

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Well I have always rather liked the look of Charles II. I love the "Errol Flynn" moustache - 2 of a kind? :wink:


There are a lot of expressions used these days that would have been seen as sacreligious a few centuries ago. I used to work with a man who always said, "Jesus wept", whenever he was a bit shocked and another who would declaim, "Jesus H Christ!", in annoyance. I must admit I'm very guilty in the "Oh my God" department (it's one of my phrases, I'm afraid) and it's been brought home to me as my 8 year old granddaughter said it, in her own exasperation, the other day. What could I say?


Going further back in time, I have heard that "bloody", as a swear-word, was originally "by Our Lady", meaning the virgin Mary and, of course, cor blimey is from God blind me. Can anyone tell me where the expression "odd's bodkins" may have originated? Or was it invented by the BBC?

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Katy, I use Jesus H. Gonzales myself -- because the Mexicans use that name a lot -- but it is sacriligious by indirection isn't it> As for odds bodkins:


The phrase sounds entirely suited to Tudor yokels and is a stock in trade of any author wishing for a shortcut to convey a sense of 'Olde Engylande'.


A bodkin is a small tool for piecing holes in leather etc. This term borrows the early bodikin version of that word, not for its meaning but just because of the alliteration with body, to make a euphemistic version of the oath God's body. This would otherwise have been unacceptable to a pious audience. That is, odds bodkins is a minced oath.


Shakespeare ignored the impropriety in Henry IV Part II, 1596:


First Carrier:

God's body! the turkeys in my pannier are quite starved.


Perhaps he was rebuked for that. In any event by 1602, when he wrote Hamlet, he had gone halfway towards the euphemistic version:



My lord, I will use them according to their desert.



God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?


The first to use 'odds bodkins' in something approaching the current spelling was Henry Fielding, in Don Quixote in England, 1734:


"Odsbodlikins... you have a strange sort of a taste."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Charles II himself didn't like his own looks- he passed by a bust of himself and said- "My God- thou art an ugly fellow!"




PS Why do people use Jesus' name as a swear word and not say some tyrant like Hitler, or Stalin, or Nero, or Diocletian (who was a Roman Emperor from the 3rd-4th centuries)?

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I think we say "Jesus" because it starts out to be a prayer -- Jesus deliver me from this idiotic scene -- or some such. Same with God. God take that person and consign them to the lowest depth in Hell.


Say, G-man - on another topic -- in a religious magazine I subscribe to -- two women who are Art History professors have published a book -- and I read the excepts and saw their exhibits -- they claim that for the first 1,000 years of Christianity art and artifacts (icons, statues, paintings, representations of saints) were all about Paradise. Here's what paradise was or will be when the earth is cleansed (after life will be in a cleansed earth) but in 980 AD or somewhere in there -- the message of Christianity started using Christ Crucified. The message went from Paradise to the blood of Christ being the cleansing agent on earth.


It's called Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love for this World for Crucifixion and Empire -- by Brock & Parker.


Of course I can't embrace it all, because Constantine had the vision of the cross back in early part of that millenium, eh?

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