6 More Interjections and Their Origins

As promised, I’ve chosen (later than planned) six more interjections from Zounds! A Browser’s Dictionary of Interjections to share with you. If you missed out on the previous posts about interjections you can find them here, here and here.

ods bodkins (also gadsbodikins)
This interjection means God’s bodiken or God’s little body and was most popular in Shakespeare’s day. It’s original purpose “was to offend the listener by attempting to offend God.” Cole Porter included ods bodkins in “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” written for the play Kiss Me Kate. Page: 124

phbbt!
Anyone familiar with the Bill the Cat comic strip will recognize this interjection. Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed “likens the word to the blowing of a raspberry: ‘slightly disrespectful but mostly in jest.'” Page: 144

Image source: Tattoo Pinners

Image source: Tattoo Pinners

quotha
This strange word means indeed and “is an alteration of the phrase quoth he.

BRUTUS: Caeser, please believe me, seeing you assassinated is the last thing I would want.
JULIUS CAESAR: Quotha. Page: 149-150

right on
An exclamation of enthusiastic agreement. It was used by youth in the 1960s. It’s believed to have “derived from the Royal Air Force’s bang on!, which means ‘that’s dead right’ or ‘that’s fine.'” These fly boys passed it along to US aviators and it filtered down to the American public. Page: 151-152

shit
An exclamation of anger, disgust, dismay or vexation.

There is a famous story about writer chums Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain challenging each other to a contest to see who could write the most off-color story. Kipling began his effort with, “Shit!” said the Queen.” Somehow Queen Victoria learned of the contest and of Kipling’s entry.” It’s believed to be the reason Kipling was never knighted or made poet laureate. Page: 158-159

thunderation
This words expresses exasperation and displeasure in a non-profane way. It was popular among Western trailblazers and used mostly when women and children were present. No need to offend the delicate creatures. 😉 Page: 169

How many of these are familiar to you? Were any of them unfamiliar? Did you know the origins of any of these interjections? Let me know in the comments.

  • That story about Kipling is too much fun! I love it! I need to start saying “bang on” in my daily life. 🙂

    • The Kipling story tickled me. I can picture him and Twain goading each other into that contest.