7 More Interjections and Their Origins

It’s November and I promised more interjections this month. So, here are a few found in Zounds! A Browser’s Dictionary of Interjections. If you missed out on the previous posts about interjections you can find them here and here.

"Ch 1 Gulliver Grandville 08" by --Immanuel Giel 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC) - etchings for Gulliver's Travels by Grandville. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ch 1 Gulliver Grandville 08” by —Immanuel Giel 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC) – etchings for Gulliver’s Travels by Grandville. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Hekinah Degul!
If you have read Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift you probably heard/read this interjection. It was shouted by the Lilliputians as they assaulted and tied Gulliver to the ground. According to Paul Odell, Hekinah Degul! is Lilliputian for “What the Devil!” Page 79

imbars bidbib
During WWII, British soldiers used this acronym for “I may be a rotten sod, but I don’t believe in bullshit.” They probably refrained from using the term in front of military superiors. Page 98

Jiminy Cricket
Most of us know that Jiminy Cricket is Pinocchio’s little buddy, but not everyone knows the name has a close connection to Jesus Christ.

“The Jiminy part of Jiminy Cricket goes back to 1664. It was spelled Gemini then and was more than likely derived from the Latin phrase Jesu domini—the inside joke being that Gemini, the third sign in the zodiac, means “twins,” and Jesus domini, which means “Jesus Lord,” is a double appellation. The Cricket part is almost surely a stand-in for Christ. The intent becomes even more evident in the less popular Jiminy Christmas.” Page 103

kan pei
Kan pei is a Japanese, Korean and Chinese drinking toast. American war veterans brought it to the United States. It literally means “dry cup.” It is customary for the toast maker to down his drink past the dregs, then suspend the empty glass upside down over his head to show that the glass is dry.” Page 107

Lord have mercy
This exclamation of surprise changes according to the speaker’s region. For example: lord-a-mercy, lordy mercy, lawsy, lawsy lawsy and lawsy mercy. Page 111

"Shinola". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Shinola“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

mox nix
This is another favorite among American soldiers who occupied Germany after WWII. It’s derived from German es machts nichts and means it makes little difference or it’s of no great importance. Page 114

no Shinola
“A euphemism for no shit” and is used to refer to someone stupid. Shinola was a well-known shoe polish in the mid twentieth century often referred to as dung paste. Have you ever heard someone say, “You don’t know shit from Shinola”? Page 119

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.

Next month the schedule is packed with Christmas related posts, but fear not…Interjections will return in January along with more Cat Wisdom and books from the Tardis Library.

  • Fun! “Imbars bidbib” is quite a mouthful. There were several new ones in here for me.

    • That particular acronym is just as cumbersome as the statement. There are lots of interesting interjections in this book.