Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Blimey - I Swear Blind, Mum

Cloud, Storm, Smite, Cor blimey, Gorblimey

BLIMEY

Interjection. Coarse slang. Late 19th century. 
[Alteration of blind me! or blame me!: see BLIND verb, BLAME verb.]

Expressing surprise, contempt, etc. Frequently in cor blimey!
(see COR interjection and compare with GORBLIMEY).

Blimey! I'm learning that my parents were wrong about so many things. As a child, for example, blimey was most definitely on the 'unacceptable words' list on account of it meaning 'God blind me' (according to Mum). But it doesn't, or not necessarily anyway. Were I to say 'Cor blimey!' or 'Gorblimey!' it would be a different matter, but I didn't, and I don't think I would have ever been picked up for saying 'Cor!'. And while the origin of blimey might be 'blind me' (an invocation that I've no doubt would still have warranted maternal proscription regardless of whether or not God was involved), it's origin is possibly 'blame me' which, as far as interjections go, seems rather more socially responsible considering it was most probably uttered after I'd just broken something.

13 comments:

  1. I used both blimey and cor blimey growing up, and still do today.
    Never got in trouble for either of them.
    But had I said sh**, watch out!
    I learned to say poop instead! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. I don't think I would reprimand any child of mine for shouting that if a brick was just about to fall on my head.

      I suppose context is key : o )

      Delete
  2. Living in a culture where I, once again, have never heard someone utter the exclamation blimey, I quite like it. In my opinion, it is much less coarse and vulgar than many alternatives people typically employ, though I do see your mom's point that crying out for God to blind you is a bit...iffy, if that were the best interpretation of the word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not particularly coarse in truth - it's quite old fashioned and mild. I'm surprised the OED lists it as 'coarse slang'.

      Delete
  3. If blimey's related to blind me, then somewhere inbetween the two there must've been a person with a giant slur.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The evolution of the English language owes a lot to inveterate drunks shlurring their words. I think. It's a good theory anyway.

      Delete
  4. I blinkin' enjoyed today's post, darn it.

    -clueless.

    ReplyDelete