Christ's Middle Name

You, sir, have been reading far too much Robert Fulghum :smiley:

Why do folks say “Jesus H. Christ”?

we around here (middle of nowhere, Ohio) always used to say it stood for “Hossenfeffer”. or somebody used to say that, and we just repeated it.

*please forgive me *

It stands for “Hallmark”, because He cared enough to send the very best.

In-joke for true Sherlock Holmes buffs.

The H. stands for Hamish.

I dunno, my favorite is still “haploid”.

It was coined by Mark Twain. He tells of how as a young newspaper editor he abbreviated it to “JC” and, after a reprimand, expanded it to “Jesus H. Christ.” I don’t have the reference here, but you’ll definitely find it in his Complete Works.

Sorry it’s no more exciting, but until someone comes up with an earlier source, that’s the explanation.

Around here, devout types who don’t want to use the name of their savior as an epitath say “Cheese and Rice.” I always add “Superstar,” they explain the euphanism to me and I say “That’s why I said Superstar, Duh,” and point out the lyrist for the musical was Tim RICE.:smiley:

I’ll trust you on the Mark Twain quote, K43, (though an exact reference would be better!) but Mark Twain could have chosen “Jesus H. Christ” because he had heard the expression from someone else.

I always thought the idea is that Jesus H. Christ is a fictional person meant to be distinct from the Jesus Christ of historical renown.

A Christian would tell you that to take the name of Jesus Christ in vain is a sin, but you can say anything you want about Jesus H. Christ without fear of retribution.

It would be the same thing as exclaiming the name of Jimminy Cricket, or any other non-god-related character.

That’s always been my understanding every time I’ve heard the phrase used.

He wrote that 21 years ago… That’s a lot of days that have passed.


In the days when literacy was a luxury, it was not uncommon for a fellow to have a friend write down his name, then make his mark (an “x”, a check mark, or something more personal) on top of or in between the two parts of the written name. If someone COULD sign his own name, he would do so, and maybe write in “himself” to show that he signed it himself. As in “Mickey (Himselfy) McGuire”. I’ve always suspected that that’s where the “H” came from.

Assuming, of course, that the Lord was (and/or is) literate.

I’m partial to the explanation that it stands for Jesus Homoousios Christ, or Jesus Homoiousios Christ, depending on if it makes an iota of difference to you.

Do you mean hasenpfeffer ?

Arnold You always were a trusting soul.

Lighter, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang says that it first appears in print in 1892. Cited by one A. Lomax as in a folk song. That may indicate it does go back a bit farther than that date.

The Mark Twain reference is mentioned in his autobiography(written in 1910) in which Clemens says, referring to ca. 1850 “In that day the common swearers of the region has a way of their own of emphasizing the Saviour’s name when they were using it profanely…He enlarged the offending J.C. into Jesus H. Christ.”

Whether this truly happened as early as 1850, we will probably never know.

Lighter suggests that “the H. is probably from Greek. epigram for Jesus, IHS or IHC, with the H(the Greek letter eta) reinterpreted as the E letter H.”

Trust in Lighter. All others pay cash.

Well, I don’t seem to recall references to him writing anything, but he certainly read a few things in the Bible, most notably Old Testament messianic prophesies.

baby steps…

How could you know what he read or didn’t read?

In the story of the woman caught in the act of adultury, the pharasees brought forth the woman (stark naked, by the way) and they told Boss that she needed to be stoned…yadda yadda yadda… “let he who is without sin cast the first stone…” we all know the story. BUT!!! it does say that while waiting, that Jesus (the supposedly illiterate one) “…bent down and began to WRITE in the dirt.” Now, noone other than the folks that were there knows what he wrote, but we do know that he CAN write…

just FYI…

Yeah, and then a meteor came streaking out of the sky, smashing her in the head and killing her instantly. Jesus looked up to the heavens and said, “Come on, Dad. I’m just trying to make a point!”

Little known story, donchya know. :wink: