When Hell Freezes Over

Posted by R. Berg on August 14, 2001

In Reply to: When Hell Freezes Over posted by Ye Olde Man on August 13, 2001

: Does anyone have an idea where the phrase "When Hell Freezes Over" comes from?

Not a precise idea. From Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day:

"'til (or till) hell freezes over" . . . orig. N. American, and prob. US rather than Can. in origin: since late C19; virtually obsolete by 1975. . . . It appears in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations as an anonymous saying, undated. It has a companion: "when hell freezes over," as in 'I'll do it when hell freezes over'--that is, never: US: C20, and still current.