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Golly Gee Whillikers

Posted by ESC on April 23, 2001

In Reply to: Golly Gee Whillikers posted by R. Berg on April 21, 2001

: : I use this expression frequently to express suprise or even use it as a mild reproach. I have also seen this question posted on another site with no responses..yet.. I am curious as to its origin. I know that Gee Wizz is a Minced oath for 'Jesus' and am wondering if this is just a variation of Gee Wizz. Thanks

: The spellings begin "wh-." Webster's unabridged, 1934, has "gee whizz" with "gee whilikins" given as a variant, although nobody I know of says "whilikins." It doesn't give an origin. "Gee" by itself is a minced oath for "Jesus," so the "whiz(z)" and "whilli-whatever" still need an explanation.

"Golly" dates back to 1743 in England. "Gee whillikens" back to 1857. I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). This substitution of a G-word for God follows ".the old Hebraic and Middle English tradition of avoiding the sacred words, such as God, by substituting words with the same initial letter." A minced oath.

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