Posted by ESC on October 10, 2003
In Reply to: Gee Willikers posted by ESC on October 10, 2003
: : I know it's probably american and I know that gee was supposedly a kid's reference to god but does anyone know where "willikers" came from and when the phrase was first used?
: Here's part of the answer:
: "Golly" dates back to 1743 in England. "Gee whillikens" back to 1857. "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). This substitution of a G-word for God follows ".the old Hebraic and Middle English tradition of avoiding the sacred words, such as God, by substituting words with the same initial letter." A Minced oath.
Other sources have some variations but no information on why "whillikens" or willikers: jewillikin ; gee whiz ; gee whitaker . From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).