Sunday & Southern Monthly ~ Issue 8

Posted on Jun 27, 2015

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Welcome Back to Sunday & Southern Monthly!


If you missed the previous installments, you’ll be interested in reading Issue 1 where I give a full definition of colloquial and a favorite example of one.  In Issue 2 you’ll find out what my youngest daughter does every morning.  In Issue 3 you’ll find out what trait I’ve been fighting.  In Issue 4 you’ll read about a quirky measurement.  Issue 5 was inspired by my oldest.  Issue 6 is an attempt to instill patience.  Issue 7 provides some musical entertainment.


Here in Sunday & Southern Monthly in an attempt to bring a little southern style, charm, grace, and humor to you once a month, I publish a colloquialism favored in the South ~ a southernism.  Anybody heard the phrase ~


What in the Sam Hill?!


Sunday & Southern Monthly ~ What in the Sam Hill?




Does this euphemism refer to a real person or is it simply just a phrase of exclamation?  


In fact there existed a Mr. Samuel Hill (1857–1931) “King of the Railway” if you will.  He was well-known, but not famous for this phrase as “What in the Sam Hill?” enjoyed widespread usage as early as 1839, nearly two decades before the railway tycoon’s birth.  (Source:  Jill Livingston, 1999, 2011. “Sam Hill Sign”. Retrieved 2011-05-19.)


Although I have to say, his vision and the subsequent erection of a full-sized replica of Stonehenge, fueled for twelve long years by a manic energy, is exclamatory enough in its own right.   (Source:  Roadside America’s story of Sam Hill’s Stonehenge.)


Perhaps a more likely candidate is a Mr. Samuel W. Hill (1819–1889) a surveyor with a ripe reputation for foul language.  Soon his name became a swear word in its own right.  Many used the expression “What in the Sam Hill?!” as a socially accepted synonym for “hell”.  (Source: Courter, Ellis W. (2005). Michigan’s Copper Country (PDF). Republished by the State of Michigan, Office of Geological Survey.)


Tune in next month {in a month of Sundays 😉 }   for the next installment of Sunday & Southern Monthly.  You’ll read all about another silly southern saying.


Thanks for reading!  Hurry on back now, ya hear?


Sunday & Southern Monthly




P.S.  Do you have any favorite sayings?


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