phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Damn and bugger my eyes

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 18, 2008 at 05:29:

In Reply to: Damn and bugger my eyes posted by Charlotte on April 17, 2008 at 13:24:

: Where does this phrase come from:

: Damn and Bugger My Eyes?

This is, I think, a combination of two expressions, both very British. "Damn (one's) eyes" is just an exaggerated "Damn." The OED recognizes it and gives a few examples.
"5. ... Also, damn (one's) eyes!, used as an abusive expression.
1761 STERNE Tr. Shandy III. xii. 64 From the great and tremendous oath of William the Conqueror, (By the splendour of God) down to the lowest oath of a scavenger, (Damn your eyes). . . 1850 H. MELVILLE White Jacket II. xxvi. 170 What man-of-war's-men call a damn-my-eyes-tar, that is, a humbug. And many damn-my-eyes humbugs there are in this man-of-war world of ours. . . 1906 'Q' Mayor of Troy xi. 151 D{emem}n your eyes, it's twins{em}and both girls! 1912 KIPLING As Easy as A.B.C. 5 It's refreshing to find any one interested enough in our job to damn our eyes. . . ."

One meaning of the verb, bugger, is "to commit buggery," which the OED describes thus: "Unnatural intercourse of a human being with a beast, or of men with one another, sodomy. Also used of unnatural intercourse of a man and a woman. Now mainly as a technical term in criminal law."

However, since the eighteenth century the word has most often been used as "coarse slang" (as the OED calls it) to mean pretty much the same thing as "damn" used in expletives. Thus, in the expression above it is a redundancy, since damning the eyes and buggering them are equivalent in meaning and tone.
SS