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Where does the phrase "Flippin' Henry" come from?
October 12, 2012 4:02 AM   Subscribe

Where does the phrase "Flippin' Henry" come from (to express exasperation)?

I used to use this a lot when I was a kid. It was a little idiosyncratic, so it would often make laugh (which encouraged me to use it more). For some reason it just popped into my head, so I Googled it to find out where it comes from, as it's not a saying I can recall anyone else using. The top result (and the only one I could find that addressed its etamology) was a blog post I apparently made 6 years ago asking this same question! Interestingly there's a comment from someone in the same boat who also uses the expression, and a Google search for Flippin/Flipping Henry shows there are *some* more people out there that use it, albeit a very small number (most results are where the name Henry just happens to follow the word flipping).

Any ideas where it comes from? Anyone else use it?
posted by chill to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
 
As a user of similar, if not the same, expression previously, I believe its a cleaner version of a cleaner version of a curse:

Flippin' Henry -> Flippin' Heck -> Fuckin' Hell

Most probably created when you've just dropped a lump hammer on your foot at the same time a small child has wandered within earshot ("Fu...lippin' Henry!!!")
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 4:15 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds like a minced oath version of 'Flipping Hell', itself a minced oath for 'F**king Hell'. Minced oaths are often created on-the-fly by parents, teachers and other people trying to switch between a swearing-appropriate context and a swearing-inappropriate context (I remember when I was a kid 'Fudge' was very popular), so the origin in your case may have been a single adult trying not to swear in front of you.

I really wish more old-timey minced oaths were still in use, btw. I mean, how great is " 'snails" (God's nails?)
posted by Acheman at 4:15 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm getting some assorted blog results if I google "flippin enry", with the h dropped off, because when I read "flippin' Henry" that's how I heard it in my head. There's some video of a motorcycle that's got that for the title, but if you take those out it's people using it in an over the top exasperated faux-cockney way.

I see from your profile that you're in the UK already. Otherwise I'd suggest it's from some old tv or movie that featured a very inaccurate British person. Why else would I be able to imagine the sound of the phrase in my head? But I'm willing to bet for you it came from some adult trying not to curse in front of you when you were small, and coming out with something old fashioned and ridiculous.
posted by Mizu at 4:23 AM on October 12, 2012


I'd say it's what others are saying. like "cheese and rice" and "shut the front door."
posted by Pax at 11:00 AM on October 12, 2012


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