By the Great Horned Spoon!

Michael Quinion editor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon Nov 26 17:39:03 UTC 2001

A subscriber to World Wide Words has asked about the exclamation "By
the Great Horned Spoon!", which he remembers his grandfather using. A
well-known children's book by Sid Fleishman about the California Gold
Rush of 1849 has that title (turned into the film "The Adventures of
Bullwhip Griffin" in 1967). There are several examples of it online
(including one seemingly from P G Wodehouse) and I've also found an
instance in the Century Magazine of New York in 1897. It looks as
though the expression ought to have a story behind it, but none of my
reference books mention it. Can anybody help my subscriber with
information about its origins?

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <editor at>
Web: <>

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