Bumped into this fantastic piece by The Grammarphobia Blog explaining the ‘H’ in ‘Jesus H. Christ’ considering that it’s not even a middle initial! Now, I’ll be honest — I didn’t know this and was even
Wikipedia says it’s, “typically uttered in anger, surprise, or frustration, though sometimes also with humorous intent.” This makes sense, considering this dialog below:
The Creation, a satirical verse play in the June 13, 1885, issue of the Secular Review, an agnostic journal in London. Here’s an exchange between the Adam and Eve characters in a scene set in the Garden of Eden:
Wife. O Lord! How them apples is pecked!
And fruit that is pecked by the birds
Is always so nice, I am told.
Man. If Jesus H. Christ hears your words,
He’ll tell, and his Father will scold.
The expression was undoubtedly used in speech earlier. Mark Twain recalled hearing it when he was a printer’s apprentice in Missouri in the mid-1800s.Jesus H. Christ, The Grammarphobia Blog
This is strange and funny. I just checked with a devout Catholic friend about Jesus H. Christ. Her response, “Never heard of him. Who’s he?” And I’m glad I wrote this post 😉
Nonetheless, I should thank god (pun intended) that I found this post! I had almost forgotten about the Grammarphobia blog. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone interested in Grammar. The G Nazi’s should make it their home page! And If you’re new, start with language myths. It’ll make you laugh and all the more knowledgable about the English language.