Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 01-13-2001, 11:22 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Curious about this mild expletive (along the lines of "egad" and "drat") which people use from time to time: "criminy" ( spelling may not be correct). Does anyone know the definition and/or root of this word? It doesn't show up in any dictionary I've checked.
#2
Old 01-13-2001, 11:42 PM
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 35,061
According to the Word Detective:
Quote:
"Criminy" (which is how most dictionaries spell it) is simply a euphemism for "Christ." Euphemisms, of course, are words designed to act as linguistic fig leaves, disguising (supposedly) or softening the true meaning of the speaker's words in deference to the listener's (again supposedly) refined sensibilities. In practice, euphemisms rarely really fool anyone, although we all play along with the game and dutifully chuckle at a "goldurn" when we might well be offended by a blunt "goddam."

"Criminy" has been around at least since the 1600's, which makes it a charter member of a sub-class of English euphemisms designed to circumvent prohibitions against swearing oaths or taking holy names in vain. Other euphemisms involving substitutes for "Christ" include "cricky," "for chrissakes," "for Pete's sake," and the ever-popular "gee," which is short for "Jesus," as is my "jeepers" above. While we're at it, "gosh," "golly," "good grief" and "great scott" all arose as attempts to sidestep invoking the name "God." There's even evidence to indicate that "doggone" has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with a garbled attempt to modify "God damn."
#3
Old 01-13-2001, 11:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 1,521
Here's what the word detective said about crimeny

http://word-detective.com/012199.html#crimeny

-Lillie
#4
Old 01-14-2001, 12:33 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,651
Off the subject:
I think "egad!" is a modification of "ye gods!"

My favorite almost-blasphemous expression has got to be:
's blood!
which is a modification of "God's blood!"
#5
Old 01-14-2001, 12:40 AM
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 35,061
Or the archaic, "Zounds!", short for God's Wounds.
#6
Old 01-14-2001, 02:44 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 13,160
So the word "heck" is a euphie for "hell", right?

Q
#7
Old 01-14-2001, 08:44 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, NY USA
Posts: 501
"By jiminy" is an attempt to not blaspheme Castor and Pollux.
#8
Old 01-14-2001, 11:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Thank you!

Thanks for all of the information. My question has been answered expeditiously and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy! Zounds! You have satisfied a great curiosity.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:23 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: big dan teague doctors mirror buy cabin cruiser floating days dating two women long skinny microphone pvt pile leaning against counter stolen check cashed elective treatment labia in movies refrigerate soy sauce paypal email in chinese does bacon fat go bad what amendments should be added to the constitution my facebook profile picture is gone do i have to sand between coats of polyurethane how to unclog an aerosol spray can does ambien show up in a drug test why is my breath so bad lately razor blade disposal slot how to urinate more turn signal doesn t flash