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, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British":
"'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.