Bless your socks off

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Jan 13 04:13:02 UTC 2001

>An inquiry has come from a Chinese Malaysian friend in Penang asking the
>origin and meaning of "bless your socks off". I hear
>it often and assume it to be a superlative for "blessings" ....

It seems a little old-fashioned, but I have heard (rarely) "Bless your
socks!" as an alternative to "Bless your heart!", meaning either "Thank
you" or just "Bless you" (affectionate expression). I assume "Bless your
socks" < "Bless your soul" but I don't have firm information. My books show
only "Bless your (little) cotton socks", which would seem to be an
elaboration with unchanged meaning (my own casual speculation: < "Bless
your [little] heart and soul").

"Bless your socks off" appears likely to be a conflation of "Bless your
socks" with "knock your socks off" (= "thrill/amaze you" or "have an
overwhelming effect on you").

I have never heard "bless your socks off". I suspect that it is used mostly
in an evangelical [Christian] context; there are a number of Web
occurrences. There is a recent book by this title.

Apparently the sense is "bless you forcefully" as in "[May] God bless your
socks off" or "This [spiritual] music will bless your socks off" or "Doing
this [good deed] will bless your socks off", etc. ... judging from Web items.

[Web quotation: "It is better to bless your socks than to darn them." (^_^)]

-- Doug Wilson

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