National For Pete’s Sake Day

Know what today is, besides February 26?

It’s National For Pete’s Sake Day. Really!

Being a word nerd as well as being married to someone named Pete, I felt it was incumbent upon me to bring this to your attention.

For Pete’s Sake. What? And why?

for Pete's sake annoyed catCurious about derivation of this idiom, I did a little research and discovered that it was created to substitute for what was considered a more profane expression — “for God’s sake” or “for Christ’s sake.”  In medieval times, that was considered blasphemous.

By the early 1900’s this expression became commonly used when annoyed, angry, frustrated or disappointed in something. for Pete's sake grumpy catLook at any Grumpy Cat photo and you can imagine them thinking, for Pete’s sake.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever used it, and I rarely hear it anymore, but apparently it isn’t unknown to the rap world. It is a lyric in a song called Power Trip by J. Cole: “For Pete’s sake, homie, pull it together.”  And it was the title of a Barbra Streisand movie.

The Graveyard of Obsolete Idioms

Perhaps it will soon be time for for Pete’s sake to be relegated to The Graveyard of Obsolete Idioms, where it would accompany fossils like these:

Run roughshod  (to treat someone harshly. In the 17th century, a “rough-shod” horse had its shoes attached with protruding nail heads in order to get a better grip on slippery roads.)

A day late and a dollar short (who is ever short just a dollar these days?)

Too big for your britches (replace with too big for your straight-leg jeans?)

Close but no cigar (when was the last time you saw an unfrowned-upon cigar?)

Go fly a kite (replaced by a more vulgar directive)

If I had a nickel for every time .. (with inflation, that would have to be, what, about $10?)

John Q. Public (who is he?)

Mad as a hornet (now we say p-o’ed)

Mind your own beeswax

Cry uncle

When pigs fly

I wonder how many of those expressions my adult children have heard. Also, what expressions used today will be considered archaic by the next generation?

If this is all Greek to you, I must be beating a dead horse. Happy National For Pete’s Sake Day!

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58 Thoughts on “National For Pete’s Sake Day

  1. Helene-so clever- I must be old because I do still use many of these expressions.
    Mimi

  2. Hilarious! There are some crazy idioms there, and I’d love to know their origins! John Q. Public? Really? I hope you celebrate this red letter day and make a big deal out of it for Pete’s sake.

  3. Hearing “for Pete’s sake” has always made me smile. I’m not sure why… especially because it usually came from the mouth of my very frustrated mother. I think it still does.
    I agree on all the idioms you listed. And John Q. Public? I only know him as the character in that horrid Denzel Washington movie — the one and only movie I ever walked out of, it was that bad.
    Thanks for starting my day with a smile. YOU is wonderful!

  4. This is so you, and so funny. On Pete’s birthday cake you should write “Happy Birthday for Pete’s Sake”!!!!

    I love this and, no, you don’t have to explain these terms to me. I’ve used most of them.

    Many of the other terms that our children and their children will never know are Yiddish. I sometimes can’t remember what they mean but am still confident I am using them correctly.

    Love this post!

  5. hbludman on February 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm said:

    Thanks, honey!

  6. My Favorite Was Go Fly A Kite Thanks For The Blast From The Past!!

  7. I’ve said many of the others you listed, but I don’t remember ever saying for petes sake…though, I have definitely heard it.

  8. I always find it interesting to learn the origins of some of our commons sayings. Thanks for sharing! And Happy For Pete’s Sake Day 🙂

  9. Hahaha – I love this. I tell my boys to mind their own beeswax ALL the time. Those are too funny!

    • hbludman on February 27, 2014 at 7:34 am said:

      Funny how some of those old expressions are just too good to let go. Thanks, Robin!

  10. Awesome post. My step fathers name is Jack so you can imagine what he hears a lot. lol

  11. No idea this day existed. My kids will love hearing this, thanks for sharing!

  12. This is so entertaining, Helene; you’ve outdone yourself!

  13. I still use them because they’re fun! I also make up my own variations. lol

  14. Love this—what a fun post! I remember seeing that Barbra Streisand movie when it came out, too. I can still hear my mother say, “Oh for crying out loud…” Don’t hear that much anymore, either.

  15. I hate those sayings, it’s taking the Lord’s name in vain, unless ou are praising His name we shouldn’t just throw His precious name around. According to the Bible it is blasphemous even though it’s not Medieval Times.

  16. That expression always gets a chuckle and an eye-roll around this house.
    You see, my husband’s name is Pete…so….
    I’ve never meant it to be a swear, however…it’s interchangeable here with “for crying out loud”. And we use “mind your own beeswax” around here all the time!

  17. I have said most of these. It’s too bad most of these were taken over by swearing. I miss hearing these. I think I’ll bookmark this and start saying these to my kids. lol

  18. I regularly use every single one of these sayings from “The Graveyard of Obsolete Idioms”, except for “Mad as a hornet”, but that’s a good one too. I’ll have to add that one to my roster. Hahaha!!

  19. I didn’t know there was a “For Pete’s Sake” Day. We have an American Dictionary of Idioms on the bookshelf. Some of them are really funny. I loved your updated versions.

  20. I have never heard of this holiday before. I do enjoy idioms, double entendres and word games.

  21. Haha, I still use half of these sometimes.

  22. LOL – I always say Close but no cigar! LOL

  23. hbludman on February 27, 2014 at 7:32 am said:

    Haha, thank you, K!

  24. hbludman on February 27, 2014 at 7:33 am said:

    Thanks, Mer! Appreciate it!

  25. I love grumpy cat! LOL! And I had actually never stopped to think where the saying “For Pete’s sake” came from! 🙂

  26. I love this! We have such a funny language, don’t we?

  27. Ha, I haven’t heard that one in forever… my gma used to say it all the time, “for pete’s sake, shauna… what are you doing?” ha!

  28. I love how we can make a day out of just about anything. Heard all these fun idioms!

  29. My children have not heard of these expression however I have. Their favorite expression these days are , ” Thats sick” I think that is a good thing or at least how they use it in their world. Such a great post thank you! OH and happy day for PETE, for Pete’s Sake!

  30. I think I say all of them, except cry uncle. My kids shake their heads when I use them or pot calling the kettle black, except I started saying kettle black, kid, kettle black.

  31. I love all the old sayings and learning how they came about. Fun post!

  32. Pingback: Thursday 26 February – 2015 daily events and trivia | Beezkneez Blog

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