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What is the origin of the expression criminetly?

Question #108585. Asked by zbeckabee.
Last updated May 13 2021.

Related Trivia Topics: Idioms and Proverbs  
Answer has 1 vote
15 year member
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Answer has 1 vote.
In my family, we said 'criminently'. Do you think we are thinking of the same word? According to a website I found, criminently is a perversion of the word 'criminy'. Criminy is a minced oath which is what you say when you can't really say bad words. Criminy supposedly meant Christ.

Response last updated by Terry on May 13 2021.
Sep 07 2009, 4:15 PM
zbeckabee star
Answer has 13 votes
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zbeckabee star
18 year member
11752 replies avatar

Answer has 13 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Indeed! It's along those same lines:

It’s certainly a mild exclamation or cry of astonishment or annoyance, now much weaker in force than when it was first used, back in the seventeenth century, when it was usually spelled crimine or criminy. Most dictionaries that include it spell it criminy, though many variant forms exist, such as criminey, crimany, criminee and crimeny. These variations show that the word has usually been transmitted orally rather than in writing.

The usual explanation is that it is a form of Christ, much like another somewhat dated mild expletive, crikey, which came along later; but the Oxford English Dictionary suggests that it might just be a variant form of crime.

There is also an elaborated version, crimanetly, known regionally in the US, which also turns up in numerous variations, such as criminetlies, criminetly and crimanightie. The Dictionary of American Regional English has a map showing where its researchers have found these expanded versions — mainly in the northern states of the central and western US, together with California.

Also: Criminitly



Response last updated by Terry on May 13 2021.
Sep 07 2009, 4:35 PM
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