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Origin of phrase

Posted by ESC on April 15, 2004

In Reply to: Origin of phrase posted by kenny on April 15, 2004

: What is the origin/menaing For Pete's Sake?

From the archives:

Biblical origins. Think of St Peter. Think of the omnipresent medieval church and think of hitting your thumb with a hammer. You can't swear, else the local priests will have you up before the Bishop and the Lord alone knows what the outcome of that will be, so you exclaim, in appropriate tone of voice, "For Saint Peter's sake" and carry on erecting the shelves. This phrase was amended to "For Pete's Sake" in later, less religiously oppressive, times.

This is called a "Minced oath," a substitution of a less offensive word.