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The Origin of the Phrase “Great Caesar’s Ghost”

May 4, 2005

I dunno what prompted it, but I took it upon myself to to track down the origin of the phrase “great caesar’s ghost”. The interweb is good for lots of stuff, but all I could find were Batman references. Although I’m sure the big B helped make the phrase popular, I doubt he coined it.

Then I came across this issue of Take Our Word For It, the only Weekly Word-origin Webzine, which had this to say:

At one time it was common to say great God but during the 19th century a prudishness fell upon the English-speaking world and people began to replace it with expressions like great sun, great Scott and great Caesar’s ghost. The Scott in question is not the author of “Rob Roy” but a popular U.S. general, Gen. Winfield Scott, a hero of the Mexican War.

Sounds convincing to me. (BTW, General Winfield Scott looked like a Civil War pimp if you ask me.)


From → Interweb

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Don’t remember Superman ever saying that.
    But it was a favorite of J Jonah Jameson in Spiderman.

  2. rob permalink

    he said batman dumbass

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