Nugget of Knowledge: For Pete’s sake

Suffering succotash is another phrase that had a religious origin

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Carol Harper sent in this request as a nugget: “I often wonder who is Pete, and why do we do things for his sake?”

The phrases “for Pete’s sake” and “for the love of Pete” are mild oaths.

They started as substitutes for something stronger, “for God’s sake,” “for the love of God,” and so on.

The phrase “for Pete’s sake” first appears in print in 1903, then “for the love of Pete” in 1906, and “in the name of Pete” in 1942.

Why “Pete” rather than “Phil” or “Fred” or “Jim”?

The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins speculates that whoever coined “for Pete’s sake” may have had St. Peter in mind.

Let’s show you a few other substitute words, and they all substitute for faith and religion:

By golly –> By God

By gosh –> By God

By gum –> By God

For the love of Mike –> For St. Michael’s sake

Good grief –> Good God

Goodness gracious –> Good God

Land sakes –> For the Lord’s sake

My gosh –> My God

Suffering succotash –> Suffering Saviour (Sylvester Cat and Daffy Duck)

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