Where did "as all get-out" come from?
April 19, 2011 4:56 PM Subscribe
IdiomFilter: What is the origin of the phrase "as all get-out"?
posted by nzero to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Googling for this has yielded mostly conjecture, common and plausible versions of which include: "get-out" is a euphemism for hell (as in "get outta here" in response to saying an offensive word); and "get-out" refers to an implausible escape.
Etymonline lists get-out
in the sense of a high degree of something, but offers no background information.
The expression seems to have originated as simply "as get-out" and then migrated to the more common modern version. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
, the earliest attested usage is from Joseph C. Neal's Charcoal Sketches
(although the dictionary lists the title as Character Sketches
). This matches the date given at etymonline of 1838.
Any resident language experts have any further info on this?