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August 19, 2004

Slang of the Week: h-e-double-hockey-sticks (noun phrase)

I don’t know what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks you think you’re doing with that gun, but I’d appreciate it if you'd put it down.

Celebrity quote:
“Despite my pride, I watched the last 30 minutes of, um, American Idol. Not to be a big fat snob, but what in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do people find so remarkable about this show?”
-Columnist Rob Grace in the Arkansas Weekly

It is, in fact, possible to be too polite. This week, we explore some slang terms you probably won’t find in rap music. Nowadays, people don’t always think “hell” is a word that they need to avoid, but if they do, they usually say heck. The only well-known celebrity to regularly use h-e-double-hockey-sticks is Ned Flanders, the church-obsessed neighbor on The Simpsons.

However, there was a time when using religious words in a non-religious context was taboo. While most of the more polite phrases used instead are variations on the original word (see more about this here), some are more creative. Jiminy Cricket was a talking insect who gave Pinocchio advice in the 1940 Disney movie and his name later became a super polite term for “Jesus Christ.”

Another sweet and old-fashioned synonym for “Jesus!” is Jumping Jehoshaphat! Jehoshaphat was a king of Judah in the Old Testament who did not jump (at least in the Bible), though he get some fame for kicking all the male prostitutes out of his country. One of my new favorites is an expression for “hell” that I recently discovered on a weblog. In a conversation on censorship, a poster commented, “Remind me to vote. (like there's a chance in the-place-with-two-L's I'd forget at this point).”

What’s new at Slang City?
Check out the new Ask AC and find out everything you ever wanted to know about guys on the down-low.