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Well, I never! I knew none of this. Or if I did, I’d long forgotten.

It’s been a while since I last posted due to work and other commitments, so I’ll be offering a series of shorter posts dedicated to the etymology of crime in general, interspersed with the occasional longer post about other things. It’s always been curious to me how many words and phrases have crept into common usage courtesy of the underworld. A great many of them are used by that perfectly honest, law-abiding people who probably haven’t the slightest idea of their original meaning. So, for openers, I’ll start off with the dreaded Tyburn, Tyburn being roughly where Marble Arch now stands and once the site of London’s premier public entertainment. That entertainment being public executions.

Condemned prisoners were held at the old Newgate Prison, now long-demolished and where the Central Criminal Court…

Source: The Etymology Of Crime – Tyburn.

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Heavens to Betsy! My weekend has been totally transformed by an email from Zazzle telling me I’ve sold 25 of these Give Thanks Postcards.

The main image is a photograph of our garden – they’re actually Cretan olive trees in the background – and a couple of textures. I’ve used Photoshop to create a Thanksgiving scene with a pumpkin from The Graphics Fairy and an open book from The Cottage Market.

Are you wondering about the phrase ‘Heavens to Betsy’? I have to acknowledge that it’s one of my favourite sayings. I learn, however, that it’s fallen out of use and considered far too anachronistic. Tough. I shall never stop using it. It seems it originated in America in the late 19th century. No one knows who Betsy was and the etymologist Charles Earle Funk said the origins of the phrase were ‘completely unsolvable’. [#1]

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first written use as from a short-story collection by Rose Terry Cooke, Huckleberries Gathered From New England Hills published in 1892. [#1; #2]

I’m also very fond of ‘Heavens to Murgatroyd!’ but I’ll leave that lovely for another day.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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