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Hell's bells

Posted by Bernard Williams on June 25, 2000

In Reply to: Hell's bells posted by ESC on June 25, 2000

: : Just a guess from personal experience:
: : My father used to use that phrase but he used the full version which is "That's a crock of sh*t", a crock being a bowl or plate-type device.
: : So when I was 13 and stinking of nicotine and I denied having smoked a cigarette he would utter the above phrase!

: To me, a "crock" is a big ol' container used to make pickles or churn butter. Couldn't find that expression. But here is: HELL'S BELLS! - "The more colorful curse 'hell's bells and buckets of blood!' was the original of the imprecation, which probably originated at sea during the late 19th century, under what circumstances no one knows." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

My clear recollection of a crock is that it was an earthenware bucket shaped container, which held about 3/4 gallons. It was glazed on the inside and used to 'ripen' un-pasteurized milk for a couple of days prior to it being churned to separate out the butter.