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Hades

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:03 am
by Stevenloan
A: One man poured beer on a tiger. Another tore off his shirt and attempted to enter the penguin pool. Those were some of the scenes described during the 2014 season of London Zoo's late-night adult-only event.
B: What the hades are they thinking? Maybe spend some of that money on overtime for keepers and security? See, easy isn't it?

- Hi everyone! I checked the meaning of "hades" online and it means "hell". Is "What the hades!" also considered as rude as "What the hell!" and is it commonly used where you live?

Thanks so much!

StevenLoan

Re: Hades

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:51 pm
by tony h
I presume you have already found that Hades, in Ancient Greek mythology, is Hell. Therefore "what the Hades" and "what the Hell" are conceptually equivalent. There will be many who will not know that Hades is Hell.

"What the Hell" isn't considered to be particularly rude; merely ill-mannered. The use of hades is simply to give some novelty to the phrase or to appear less ill-mannered. Maybe even to give a sense of intellectual superiority but I think this is unlikely. Someone else may know of a particular phrase which covers this type of usage.

Re: Hades

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:28 pm
by Phil White
I would guess that it is something that was originally a "minced oath" for "what the hell", although I can find no early occurrences of it.

However, since "hell" is nowhere near as offensive as it was, say, a hundred years ago, "what the Hades" now merely sounds pretentious.

"What the heck" is a minced oath for "what the hell" that has survived to the present day, although it has taken on a life of its own, and few would recognize it as a minced oath.

Re: Hades

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:03 am
by Stevenloan
tony h and Phil White : Thank you both very much for your answers. They are really useful.

StevenLoan

Re: Hades

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:32 am
by trolley
Phil White wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:28 pm
I would guess that it is something that was originally a "minced oath" for "what the hell", although I can find no early occurrences of it.
I remember it being used as a minced oath. Hades was a much milder that Hell when being used in a curse. I'm not sure, but I think I recall it being used in old movies... "go to Hades" or "I'll see you in Hades" or something similar. This was in the time before you could tell someone to "go to Hell" on screen. Just to clarify, those movies were very old when I was very young.

Re: Hades

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:56 am
by tony h
trolley wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:32 am
Phil White wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:28 pm
I would guess that it is something that was originally a "minced oath" for "what the hell", although I can find no early occurrences of it.
I remember it being used as a minced oath. Hades was a much milder that Hell when being used in a curse. I'm not sure, but I think I recall it being used in old movies... "go to Hades" or "I'll see you in Hades" or something similar. This was in the time before you could tell someone to "go to Hell" on screen. Just to clarify, those movies were very old when I was very young.
From the 1920 and 1930 I found several occurances of "What in Hades" which support its use as a minced oath. The oddity is the lack of equvalence. Hell is fire and brimstone and eternal pinishment, whereas Hades is simply where you go at the end of life.


Brimstone = sulphur.