"I always suspected that the University police were loyal to the Crown!" -Katya
Question #27089 posted on 11/23/2002 midnight
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Where did the saying "Great Scott" came from? How about the saying "By George"? ("By George, I think I've got it.") How about "For Pete's sake"? Who are Scott, George and Pete?
--curious george

A: Dear Curious George,
Easy breezy my friend. Scholars have decided that Great Scott has one of two origins, and I must say I like both of them. First off, there is an old German phrase "Gruess Gott", which means Great/greet/Good God, which I'm sure you can guess the meaning of. Secondly, back in the 1800's, there was an American general by the name of Winfield Scott who campaigned for your Presidency under the moniker of "Great Scott."

On to the next. "By George" is a corruption of a much older British term, "By Jove." It came into fashion during the reign of one of the Hanover monarchs. If you don't know who Jove is, it's another name for God, derived from the Roman Jupiter. Someone who says "By George" or "By Jove" is therefore stating that an idea came through the grace of the King/Deity, depending on the phrase you prefer.

Lastly, we have my personal favorite, "For Pete's Sake," also seen as "For the Love of Pete," "For Heaven's Sake," and "For Pity's Sake." I take it that you, Curious George, currently live in Utah, and have some experiences with this culture. Have you ever heard words like fetch, flip, frikkin, heck, dang, gosh, mother, and effing? That is what "For Pete's Sake" is like. A minor oath substituted in the place of a more major one. Pete is a derivation of St Peter. This should probably satisfy you.
--The Great Scot