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Son of a bitch

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 29, 2009 at 19:01

In Reply to: Son of a bitch posted by Graham Seed on September 25, 2009 at 05:24:

: We are interested in the origin of the phrase "Son of a bitch".

: We have found a reference in Thomas Hardy's novel "Far From the Madding Crowd" [Page 124, Chap XV] the phrase "Sons o' Witches" and was wondering about the origin of this phrase and whether or not the two phrases are related.

My guess is that "sons of witches" is a euphemism for "sons of bitches". "Bitch" in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century was considered a seriously "rude" word in genteel circles (I can still remember in my youth that the mealy-mouthed would say "lady dog" instead). It's anybody's guess whether Hardy considered his characters would have used the euphemism, or just knew his publishers wouldn't print "sons of bitches". (VSD)