Posted by ESC on April 15, 2004
In Reply to: Origin of phrase posted by ESC on April 15, 2004
: : What is the origin/menaing For Pete's Sake?
: From the archives:
: Biblical origins. Think of St Peter. Think of the omnipresent medieval church and think of hitting your thumb with a hammer. You can't swear, else the local priests will have you up before the Bishop and the Lord alone knows what the outcome of that will be, so you exclaim, in appropriate tone of voice, "For Saint Peter's sake" and carry on erecting the shelves. This phrase was amended to "For Pete's Sake" in later, less religiously oppressive, times.
: This is called a "Minced oath," a substitution of a less offensive word.
FOR PETE'S SAKE - The phrase is simply a polite version of a common and profane expression involving the name of Christ. We'd surmise that the original 'Pete' was St. Peter." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris. Substituting less offensive words - like Godfrey Daniel for the other GD - is called a minced oath.