16 Historical Exclamations We Should Start Saying Again

Aren’t you bored of the saying the same old exclamations of “Oh my God!” and “What the hell?” Take a page out of history with these historical exclamations, or “minced oaths” as they’re sometimes called, and spice up your daily speech:

1. “By Jove!”
16th – 20th century

Like saying “My God!”

What in the Sam Hill!

2. “I’ll be hanged!”
19th Century

Like saying “I’ll be darned!” or “I wouldn’t dare!”

3. “Heaven’s to Betsy!”
19th century

Shock or surprise. The same as saying “Oh my goodness!” It’s still unknown who “Betsy” is.

By Jove!

4. “Well, I’ll be switched!”
19th century

Expression of amazement, wonder, or befuddlement.

5. “My giddy aunt!”
Early 20th century

Expressing astonishment, like “my God!”

What ho!

6. “As I live and breathe!”
17th century

Expressing surprise at encountering someone or something. 

7. “Ye gods!”
17th century

Expresses surprise or incredulity, like “Oh my God!”


8. “Fiddlesticks!”
14th century

Expresses disagreement or anger

Dash it!

9. “What ho!”
Early 20th century

A greeting like “Hello!”

10. “Dash it!”
English, unknown origin

The same as “darn it!”

Heavens to Betsy!

11. “What in the Sam Hill!”
19th century

Or “How in the Sam Hill!” Or basically anytime you’d use “hell”.

12. “Great Caesar’s ghost!”
19th century

The same as saying “Holy cow!”

Well, I’ll be switched!

13. “Zounds!”
16th century

Shortened from “God’s wounds”. An expression of surprise.

14. “Alack!”
15th century

Expression of surprise

15. “Odds bodkins!”
15th century

Another Expression of surprise

16. “Gadzooks!”
17th century

Shortened from “God’s hooks”. An expression of surprise.

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