Cross my heart

Posted by ESC on April 27, 2003

In Reply to: What's the origin posted by ANgElnDEvil on April 27, 2003

: What's the origin of "Cross my heart, hope to die"? My friend and I were wondering since it seems so horrible when you really think about it.

CROSS ONE'S HEART - "The most binding oath of childhood; solemn assurance of truthfulness, usually accompanied by motions of the right hand forming a cross over the general vicinity of the testator's heart. Probably the gesture and its binding nature were originally based upon the familiar Catholic sign of the cross. In my own Protestant childhood in Ohio, and my wife says the same was the case in Massachusetts, the oath was often accompanied by the irreverent doggerel: 'Cross your heart and hope to die, And hope the cat'll spit in your eye." From 2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to Song and Dance by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Book, New York, 1993).