5 More Interjections and Their Origins

As they say, all good things must come to an end. So here are the final five interjections from Zounds! A Browser’s Dictionary of Interjections . If you missed out on the previous posts about interjections you can find them here, here, here and here.

uncle
There are competing theories as to the origins of this interjection. Whether it came from ancient Rome or Gomorrah’s sister city it’s still in use today. Admit it. You’ve held someone captive and yelled, “cry uncle” at least once in your life. 😉   Page: 178

vanilla!
I had personally never heard of this interjection, but it has an interesting history. Supposedly,  it “was once a code word used by soda jerks to inform kitchen staff of the arrival of a pretty girl to the soda fountain.” Etymologist Stuart Berg Flexner classifies this interjection as “an exclamation of disbelief.” Could that be because the soda jerks were really jerks and falsely reported the presence of a pretty girl a few too many times? Page: 180

whoop-de-do
What excites one person doesn’t necessarily elicit the same response in another. I remember an instance when in the movie theater with friends and the lead actor appeared on screen. One friend excitedly said there he is and another friend said big whoop. Basically the same thing as whoop-de-do.  Page: 187

Sea seen behind an anchor on a breakwater. Photo provided by Michele Tirinzoni & freeimages.com

Sea seen behind an anchor on a breakwater. Photo provided by Michele Tirinzoni & freeimages.com

yo-ho-heave-ho
This one is a bit complex to explain. Basically, it is used by sailors as they haul “nautical cordage, especially rope attached to anchors.” “Yo signals the start of the haul. Ho is the rallying cry…Heave commands the pull. The second Ho is the wind-down.” Page: 197

zounds
It seems only fitting that we end with this interjection since the title of the book in which I discovered these gems is titled Zounds. Today this word is a lighthearted signal of surprise or maybe a bit of vexation, but in days of old it was “considered quite the blasphemous oath.”  It “derives from the deadly serious phrase Christ’s Wounds. “S wounds became z’wounds, the zounds!”  Page: 203

I hope you enjoyed our journey of interjections and their origins. I’m now off to learn something new and interesting.