land sakes!

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

land sakes!

Post by museamused » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:21 pm

My grandmother was full of holy expressions which baffled me as a child. "For goodness' sake" or "Heavens to Betsy".
One that has continually baffled me is "For land sakes" (sic). Has anyone else heard this expression or know anything about the derivation of this expression?
Post actions:

land sakes!

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:37 pm

The probable origin of your expression is a deliberate mangling of "For [the] Lord's sake". Use this site's search facility to find the term minced oath -- this phenomenon has been discussed here several times before.
Post actions:
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

land sakes!

Post by hsargent » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:01 pm

I believe it was plural Lands although having only heard it, it might have been lanz!
Post actions:
Signature: Harry Sargent

land sakes!

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:51 pm

When a word that ends in S precedes one that starts with S, it can be almost impossible to distinguish two separate S sounds, or even to be certain whether there are two Ss or just one.
Post actions:
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

land sakes!

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:36 am

Joe, Erik has it right. Also, it sometimes appears as LAND SAKES! and sometimes as LANDSAKES! and sometimes as LANDS SAKE! and sometimes as LAND’S SAKE(S) and . . . and sometimes it finishes off with an ALIVE! as in LAND SAKES ALIVE!
________________

LAND U.S.: Substituted euphemistically for Lord, in phrases the land knows, Good land! Also, (for the) land's sake, land sakes, my land(s). (Oxford English Dictionary)
<1849 “‘But what are they called turnpikes for?’ ‘The LAND knows—I don't.’”—‘Wide Wide World’ by Miss Warner, xiv>

<1889 “Good LAND! a man can't keep his functions regular on spring chickens thirteen hundred years old.”—‘Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ by Mark Twain, xi. page 110>

<1913 “The Americans . . . say Gee, whiz, bully, MY LANDS, my soul, [etc.].”—‘Letters’ of Aldous Huxley, 30 July, page 51>

<1916 ‘MY LAND!’ exclaimed Nick. ‘If he sees me here he'll think I've come on purpose to talk about him.’”—‘The Lion’s Share’ by A. Bennett, xlv. page 350>
________________

LANDSAKES! exclamation [mid-19th century and still in use] (mainly U.S.): A mild oath [‘Lord’s sake!’] (Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang)
________________

LAND SAKES ALIVE! Not many people use this old-fashioned euphemistic exclamation of surprise anymore, but many have heard their parents or grandparents say it. Often the phrase was land sakes!, lands sake alive!, sakes alive!, my lands! good land!, land!, Lordy!, land o’ Goshen!, and good land a mercy! (Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins)
________
<1884 “‘LAND SAKES ALIVE’ said he. ‘Didn’t you know he was buried yesterday?’”—‘Allen County Democrat’ (Lima, Ohio), 28 June, page 1>

<1902 “They say that kissing is not now considered hygienic. LAND SAKES ALIVE! When I went a courting, there never was any disease in lover’s kisses.”—‘The News’ (Frederick, Maryland), 6 December, page 4>

<1936 “Why -- For THE LAND SAKES ALIVE! It ain’t possible!!”—‘Republican Fresno Bee’ (California), 24 May, page 32>

<1969 “The costumes, always to be commented on at a Hollywood spread, ran the gamut from ‘Oh-my-gosh’ to ‘LAND-SAKES-ALIVE’ to ‘Good Lord!’ —read in tones of shocked consternation no less.”—‘The Gleaner’ (Kingston, Jamaica), 18 June, page 30>

<2001 (advertisement) “LAND SAKES ALIVE!’ Plenty of yard goes with this 3 bdrm ranch on 2.5 acres with woods in rear”—‘Chronicle Telegram’ (Elyria, Ohio), 13 July, page 26>
(archived sources)
________________
<1846 “Jedediah, FOR THE LAND’S SAKE, does my mouth blaze?”—‘Knickerbocker,’ xxvii. page 18>

<1848 “LAND’S SAKE! I've forgotten all about them barrels!”—‘ The Oak-Openings’ by James Fenimore Cooper, I. v. page 82>

<1854 “For LAND’S SAKE dont tell Tempest.”—‘Tempest and Sunshine’ by M. J. Holmes, xvi. page 223>

<1861 “LIZZY bust out cryin, sed she was feard it want him. LAND SAKES! sed I, hes got a mark that I ken tell wether its him or kno.”—‘Vanity Fair,’ Vol. 4, page 123>

<1885 “But I don't go in for beauty nor fashion, nohow; healthiness is my prime idee. Healthy hereabouts, did you ask? LAND SAKES, yes: 'tain't the doctors that's gettin' rich 'round here."—‘Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine,’ Vol. 6, Issue 33, September, page 289>

<1899 ‘“LAND’S SAKES” is still good colloquial English.’—‘Modern Language Notes,' Vol. 14, No. 5, May, page 278>

<1908 “‘For THE LAND’S SAKE!’ gasped Marilla . . . ‘I believe the child is crazy.’”—‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L. M. Montgomery, xiv. page 141>

<1923 “‘Now Ma,’ she’ll say like that, ‘what are you goin’ to do? How ever are y’ goin’ t’ make out in th’ rent?’ ‘LAND SAKES,’ I’ll say, . . . ”—‘Criminal Science Monographs,’ No. 4, The Unadjusted Girl: With Cases and Standpoint for Behavior Analysis, page 12>

<1926 'Rolly Trudam.' Communicated by Miss Mabel Mooney, Oxford Mississippi, from the singing of her mother, Mrs. M. L. Mooney, who formerly resided in Calhoun County,—‘The Journal of American Folklore,’ Vol. 39, No. 152, April, page 124
  • 1) As I went out one morning to take the morning air. / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day) / As I went out one morning to take the morning air, / I met an old lady talking to her daughter fair. / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day.)

    2) “Hush your foolish talking and stop your rattling tongue. / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day) / Hush your foolish talking and stop your rattling tongue. / You talk about your marrying; you know you are too young. / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day.)

    3) “If I were willing, oh, who would be your man? / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day) / If I were willing, oh, who would be your man?” / “LAND SAKES, mamma, I’d get my handsome Sam / (Rolly Trudam, Trudam, Trudam, Rolly Day.) >
<1928 “‘Well, look who’s traveling,’ she exclaimed, ‘at this hour of the night. My LAND SAKES—’”—‘The American Journal of Nursing,’ Vol. 28, No. 12, December, page 1229>

<1930 “LAND SAKES, it gives me the creeps to think of it.”—‘The 42nd Parallel’ by Dos Passos, page 50>

<1941 “‘‘Why yes, didn’t you know? The diplomas are printed in your own magnificent new school building, built with WPA funds. Everybody who takes this [[tour]] gets one as a souvenir.’ ‘LAND SAKES!’ said Gramma. ‘Think of that!’”—‘The Modern Language Journal,’ Vol. 25, No. 5, February, page 379>

<1949 “He's [[Chuck Yeager, first person to fly faster than the speed of sound (1947)]] still the same nice kid." Mrs. Ocie J. Smith, who has taught school in Hamlin for nigh on 40 years, says: "LAND SAKES! Why, when I had Charlie in the third grade, he was a little slow. I never dreamed he would grow up to be traveling around the country so fast.”—‘Time Magazine,’ 18 April>

<1952 “But LAND’S SAKE, how did he get into dat ole lonesome graveyard?”—‘A King Reluctant’ by V. Wilkins, I. iii. page 45>

<1974 “We've only got another week, for LAND’S SAKE.”—‘ Craig and the Tunisian Tangle’ by K. Benton, xiii. page 180>

<1977 “President Carter has promised to make himself available to citizens on the telephone [[following was a spoof on what might occur]] . . . Caller: Now see here. I ordered three hot and sour and two shark fin. You got it exactly backward. The moo shu pork came without any pancakes and where are the lichee nuts? President: There's been a mistake, ma'am. I'm Jimmy Carter. Caller: Right. And I'm Butterfly McQueen. Now . . . President: No, no. I really am Jimmy Carter. Caller: Hmmm. You do sound a little like him. President: That's because I am him . . . I mean, me. . Caller: Well LAND SAKES! What are you doing working in a Chinese restaurant?”—‘Time Magazine,’ 21 February>

<1987 “The artwork [[in Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art]] depicted the goddess Persephone, undraped and lying in a grove with an elderly gent leering out from behind a tree trunk. . . . A Kansas City columnist added insult to injury when he suggested — that the nude Persephone be given ‘at least a bikini or some underwear.’ . . . LAND SAKES! Give that girl a pair of dungarees and a checkered shirt ‘fore she catches her death of cold.”—‘Post Standard’ (Syracuse, New York), 21 January, page 10>

<1997 “[[Reverend Yordy]] attempted to guide his lost sheep with an appeal to good, old Mennonite pacifism. LAND SAKES, they were not put on God’s earth to create instruments of destruction.”— page 27>

<2003 “I just have to say that I think it’s about time that someone has put a stop to drinking and riding horses. What kind of message does that give our children to see a bunch of drunken idiots riding around town as if they owned the place? And all the cussing and spitting in public! LAND SAKES! . . .”—‘Pinedale Roundup’ (Wyoming), 3 July, page 56>
(Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources)
________________________

Ken G – February 16, 2007
Post actions:

land sakes!

Post by museamused » Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:28 pm

A-ha. I've heard of minced oaths but I never made the land-lord connection... though I should have.

Thanks very much!
Post actions:

Re: land sakes!

Post by Dusty Rustyford » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:56 pm

I'm certain that my grandmother, born in rural Kansas in the 1890's, used to say that exclamation as "Lan' Sakes!" and she also used to say "Oh, My Lan'!". Numerous old books have those two exclamations written that way, but I never knew what the meaning was or how those two exclamations evolved until I ran across the postings on this forum. Thank you for the history lesson! Mark Twain was one of the authors who wrote stories using "Oh, My Lan'!".
Post actions:

End of topic.
Post Reply