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Heavens to Betsy

Posted by ESC on May 19, 2003

In Reply to: Help pleasr posted by richardhowell on May 19, 2003

: Heaven to Betsy
: Where does this come from? What does it mean?
: Any help would be appreciated
: thank you
: Richard

HEAVENS TO BETSY -- It's an exclamation like "Oh, my goodness." Nobody knows the origin for certain. There's a long discussion of the phrase in "Heavens to Betsy" by Charles Earle Funk. (He titled at least two of his books using origin-unknown phrases.) The only thing he knew for certain is that it's an old phrase. He didn't think the phrase relates to the first Queen Elizabeth since she was never called "Betsy" and the phrase is virtually unknown in England, at least when he was writing the book in 1955. And he didn't think it related to Betsy Ross. Mr. Funk's theory was that "It was much more likely to have been derived in some way from the frontiersman's rifle or gun which, for unknown reason, he always fondly called Betsy."