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Effing and blinding

Posted by Lewis the Swearer on March 10, 2003

In Reply to: Effing and blinding posted by Word Camel on March 09, 2003

: : : : Anyone know the origin of "effing and blinding"?

: : : "Effing and blinding", which is I believe a primarily British expression, means to be peppering one's speech with obscenities. The "effing" bit's quite easy to understand - it's euphemistically referring to the "F word", as in f*ck, or f*cking, both lamentably too often used in speech as coarse intensifiers, especially if the person's angry.

: : : "Blinding" is a lot trickier - it all depends how old the expression "effing and blinding" is. There's a British mild swearword "blimey" - rapidly falling into disuse these days - that is allegedly a corruption of "God blind me", so this may be being referred to. Alternatively, given that "effing" uses the sound of the first letter of the word it replaces to make its point, maybe "blinding" is similarly meant to be a replacement for "bloody(-ing)", another albeit far milder British curse. Then again, there's an idiom over here, "to curse oneself blind", meaning to curse to extreme excess, and this may be why it came about.

: : : Thoughts, anyone?

: :
: : There's also the expression "to swear blind" which may be related - as far as I know that means to take an oath such as "he swore blind he didn't do it" meaning he strongly denied doing it.

: So 'blimey' is worse than 'bloody'? Really? And what about 'blooming', or was that just Dick Van Dyke and Audrey Hepburn?

Let us be blunt - "effing" means to use the word "fuck" as a crude swear-word and "blinding" (should that really be Blind-ing?) refers to other oaths and derives from "May God blind me" (Gor blimey!). So "effing and blind-ing" is to be either crude or blasphemous in speech.