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#127906 04/29/04 09:50 AM
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hanema Offline OP
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I think you are right except that the Civil War excerpt specifically said that he didn't "cuss him out" but he "blessed him out." This leads me to believe that this phrase involves telling someone off without the use of curses or curse words. Wish I could find some idea of the origins. The meaning comes across but can't figure out where the phrase came from. It was new to me anyway.


#127907 04/29/04 12:00 PM
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Eric Patridge, in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconvential English, has:

bless oneself. Ironical for curse: from ca. 1600; coll. After ca. 1800 S.E. 'How my Lord Treasurer did bless himself', Pepys in his diary, April 1, 1665. Also, to bless another: to reprimand, scold, curse at, swear at him: coll. > S.E.; C. 19–20.

Also, the word bless has an interesting etymology: OE blœdsian, blédsian, blétsian 'to bless, wish happiness, or consecrate'. It is cognate with the word blód 'blood' and originally meant something like 'to consecrate or sprinkle with blood'. A cognate verb does not appear in other Germanic languages.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/18/B0321800.html


#127908 04/29/04 10:17 PM
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This is a phrase that I would not consider unusual at all. It is synonymous for telling somebody off, as in really giving it to them with both barrels. It does not mean that swear words were not used. Perhaps there is an element of irony in its origin (and they say we Southerners don't have irony), although it is not used nowadays as a means of humor.

A similar phrase comes to mind: a word of prayer, as in, "Could you come over here a second? You and I need to have a word of prayer together." If someone says this to you, you're about to get a firm scolding. The difference is that when you bless somebody out, you're losing your cool, and when you take someone aside for a "word of prayer," it's more of a dish served cold, if you know what I mean.


#127909 04/29/04 10:44 PM
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In French Québec, the word blessed (sacré) has dual meaning. It can be the nice "holy" version or it can mean the not so nice "swearing."


#127910 04/30/04 10:13 AM
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Green, Jonathon Slang thesaurus Penguin (1999)
has "blessed" as one of the entries for "cursed" - after "blasted" and "bleeding" and before "blithering."

And this does concur with my own experience - you put something down and can't remember where, so ask the world in general, "Now where on earth has the blessed thing got to?"
It isn't so common in UK these days, when rough and rude swear words are on nearly everyones lips, but certainly when I was a youngster, it was very common for adults to use that form when children were present.

EDIT: the pronunciation was always, "blesséd


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Oh yeah, if you're blessing someone out, you're blastin' 'em, all right. May or may not include actual cuss words. I wasn't able to find this phrase in a Southern-speak dictionary, but I did find this:
http://www.gagirl.com/southern/ms-ga.html


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Jackie, that's hilarious!!

The same site also offers a dictionary: http://www.GAgirl.com/southern/jawjuh.html

and a pronunciation guide: http://www.GAgirl.com/southern/south.html


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