Friday, April 8, 2016

G: Good Grief! Goodness Gracious! Golly Gee! Good Golly!

by Deborah Nielsen

Okay, so I got “G” in this April blogging challenge. After doing a little research, I learned that these exclamations have more in common than just the word “good.”

According to the Urban Dictionary:

Good grief – unbelievable, shocking, something that is hard to imagine though seems to happen on a potentially recurring basis

Goodness gracious – an exclamation of excitement, surprise or frustration; a Southern term used primarily as a substitute for cursing

Golly gee – used in a satirical statement when someone is treating you like a child

Good golly – being overly emotional about something

And from Dictionary.com:

Golly, gosh, gee – all are euphemistic alterations of the word “god” or “Jesus” in the case of gee.

Many of these phrases have been used by memorable cartoon and TV characters or used in popular songs.


“Good grief, Charlie Brown!” I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t heard Charles Schultz’s Charlie Brown utter his favorite catchphrase, “Good grief!”

Many of us who grew up in the 1960s watched “The Andy Griffith Show” and its popular spin off, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” Gomer was played by Jim Nabors. Gomer’s ubiquitous “GOLLYEEEEE,” which he uttered almost every time he opened his mouth to say something, will always be remembered by those of us who watched the shows. And I always smile when I hear it.

Then there’s Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Did you know that Miss Molly was a gay whore? I didn’t until I actually looked up the lyrics because I never could understand Little Richard while he was belting out the song. On the surface, the song may sound like a man enjoying watching a woman dance, but Molly is also a euphemism for a gay prostitute. Rock and roll has used euphemisms in many songs. ZZ Top’s “Pearl Necklace” actually refers to the drops of a man’s ejaculation on a woman’s chest resembling a pearl necklace. Euphemisms in song lyrics are often used to get past the censors for airplay. Oh, I was so innocent back in the day.

Learning the history of words and phrases, as well as the slang meanings, can add to your writing in subtle ways. Catchy words or phrases used by a character can make that character more memorable.

Who is your favorite character? Is it because of something they said?

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