One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
noun & exclamationNorth American
Used as a euphemism for ‘damnation’.
damn, damnation, blast, hell, heck, gordon bennettView synonyms
- ‘And, holy tarnation, to get to the town of Wayne you gotta cross eleven bridges and be able to spit directly upon a scorpion from high atop yer horse.’
- ‘You stand in the way of a swarm of bats and you can expect to get horsewhipped to tarnation, boy!’
- ‘"How stupid does he think we are" comes to mind as does " Why in tarnation didn't one of us think of that?"’
- ‘What in tarnation were you yelling about Juliet!’
- ‘In a cold rasp, he said, "What in tarnation are you a-doing down there?"’
- ‘I don't need to drag all around tarnation to do that!’
- ‘Why in tarnation should the Post dress this ‘Middle East expert’ in a mask?’
- ‘I'll tell you what's wrong with my car - it's the worst darn heap of scrap metal this side of tarnation!’
- ‘"What in tarnation are you doin' and who are you!?"’
- ‘He barely waited for them to dismount before he yelled in anger, "Where in tarnation have you two been?"’
- ‘Just what in tarnation is it that you girls want to do?’
- ‘"What in tarnation…" I whispered to myself, and I began to move to follow him, but then he was gone.’
- ‘Well, what in tarnation are you doing here, Jewelweed?’
- ‘How in tarnation could they make a movie that appeals to kids so much and also appeal to adults so much too, simultaneously.’
- ‘Son, I don't know what in tarnation you're talking about.’
- ‘What in tarnation are you talking about Kelley?’
- ‘But who in tarnation would believe him and Olaf if they told what they'd seen lying dead in the meadow?’
- ‘Perplexed by what he sees, he says out loud, "What in tarnation is it?"’
- ‘We went down yonder to the cement pond and I fell on a pretzel, tarnation!’
- ‘Also included is a full frame version of the film, though why in tarnation would anyone want to watch that?’
Late 18th century: alteration.
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