Real Talk: Jeepers Creepers

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 09.54.29While watching the motion picture Jeepers Creepers, I went searching for the titular song. What I found instead was far better!

I discovered “minced oaths.”

Now, you’re probably familiar with many minced oaths. “Dang” is a minced oath for “damn.” Heck. Gosh. You’ve heard them all your life. But did you know that “jeepers creepers” is a minced version of “Jesus Christ”? Or that “zounds!” is minced for “wounds,” referring to the marks on Christ’s body? (Kind of a forgotten version of the Brits’ beloved “bloody.”) In fact, there were a lot of swear words that referred to Christ, the nails on the cross, and the crucifixion in general. I guess in the 17th century if you really wanted to make a point, you invoked the dead savior. That still holds true, I guess!

(By the way, a minced oath for “cunt” is “berk” because “cunt” rhymes with England’s foxhound pack Berkeley Hunt and that got abbreviated to “berk” in the 1930s Language is fun!)

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