Heavens to...

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 1 12:40:34 UTC 2000

On Tue, 31 Oct 2000, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> "Heavens to Betsy" is apparently entirely mysterious in its origin. It is
> discussed at the M-W Web site and at Quinion's site. There is a book by
> this title by Charles Earle Funk (1955, now available in paperback), in
> which Dr. Funk reports his failure to establish an 'etymology'.

The OED's first use for "heavens to Betsy/Betsey" is dated 1892.  Making
of America yields the following earlier example:

1878 _Harper's New Monthly Mag._ Sept. 582  "Heavens-to-Betsy!  You don't
think I ever see a copper o' her cash, do ye?

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

More information about the Ads-l mailing list