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My giddy aunt

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 19, 2009 at 03:46

In Reply to: My giddy aunt posted by James Briggs on December 18, 2009 at 11:46:

: : I'd always believed 'my giddy aunt' to be a 'minced oath' - 'my God Almighty'. Does anyone agree, or am I wrong about this?

: Here's what I've found.
: "Giddy", indicating "impulsive" or "scatterbrained", is apparently derived from Old English "gydig", which meant "mad, frenzied, possessed by God".

My search engine produced an endless supply of citations for "Oh my giddy aunt," which when explained is always described as expressing surprise, with its origin as Dr. Briggs has explained it, and dating (in print) from the last decade of the 19th century.

What surprises me is that it seems to be in such common use, although until today I had never but once seen or heard it. That once was either in a work by P.G. Wodehouse, or in a dream that I read it in a work by Wodehouse. Ergo, I conclude that it is a Britishism, somewhat alien on the North American continent.