Posted by Jo on April 30, 2001
In Reply to: Derivation of "What in the Sam Hill......" posted by Bruce Kahl on June 22, 2000
: Merriam-Webster has a discussion of this phrase and others at the link below.
Sam Hill was a proponent of the Pacific Highway ... they thought he was crazy ...
"What in the Sam Hill do we need that for?"
: Seems your phrase, as in "What in the Sam Hill are you doing?", is a euphemism, an inoffensive expression used to substitute for terms that might offend or suggest something unpleasant aka "Minced oath". The hill part is thought to be a stand-in for the word hell, but why Sam? Theories abound, but proof is scarce.