View Full Version : Origin of "Gee Whiz"

03-22-2001, 04:06 PM
What is the origin of the term "Gee Whiz"?

03-22-2001, 04:18 PM
It's a euphemism for "Jesus".

Lance Turbo
03-22-2001, 04:18 PM
It's the way that people who think it's a sin to say the Lord's name in vain, say the Lord's name in vain without technically saying the Lord's name in vain.

03-22-2001, 04:20 PM
I think (no cite, though), that it originated as an alternate exclamation to "Jesus!", similar to the way gosh is used to avoid taking the Lord's name in vain. (Or, Lo tisah et shem Elokecha lashav :j)

03-22-2001, 08:47 PM
All three of the posts above mine are correct. Gee seems to have come into use in print about 1850 or so, at least in the US. I can find cites morphing from gee, then to gee whilliken, then to gee whiz by 1870's. Thanks to JE Lighter, American Slang as usual.

03-22-2001, 08:52 PM
There are plenty of similar examples -- "Judas Priest" in place of "Jesus Christ", "Jiminy", not to mention "Jimin Cricket", who shares initials with J.C.

03-23-2001, 02:13 AM
"Fuck", which is of course short for "fo' Chris' sake"...

03-23-2001, 11:41 AM
quoted from Redboss
"Fuck", which is of course short for "fo' Chris' sake"...

Is that true? Anyone able to second this or provide a source?

06-07-2001, 06:54 AM
"Gee Whiz" is often pronounced "Geez". I remember cracking up when I saw that the Hebrew subtitles for an American program in Israel had mistakenly thought the word was "Cheese" and translated it as such -- making obviously no sense in the context.

06-07-2001, 07:22 AM
Originally posted by YTMezoan
quoted from Redboss
"Fuck", which is of course short for "fo' Chris' sake"...

Is that true? Anyone able to second this or provide a source?

I'm not sure that it is. Try here http://www.wordwizard.com/indexresources.htm

06-07-2001, 07:27 AM
Oops. Should have said that you'll need to search on the word when you get there. To save some time...

WORD HISTORY: The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, “Flen flyys,” from the first words of its opening line, “Flen, flyys, and freris,” that is, “fleas, flies, and friars.” The line that contains fuck reads “Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk.” The Latin words “Non sunt in coeli, quia,” mean “they [the friars] are not in heaven, since.” The code “gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk” is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields “fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli.” The whole thus reads in translation: “They are not in heaven because they fuck wives of Ely [a town near Cambridge].”

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

Hope this helps

06-07-2001, 01:27 PM
Glad you straightened that out, I was looking under Australian slang

Many years ago, I heard that it began with the legal phrase used in the King's court for rape.
The phrase was something like Forced Unto Carnal Knowledge[/b]

06-07-2001, 06:28 PM
When my mom was growing up during the Depression years, she said they used to say "Cheese and crackers got all muddy" to avoid saying "Jesus Christ and God Almighty."

Tangential, but somewhat related to your post.