Miscellaneous Mundane Inquiry

I just found myself using the phrase “I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that. …” I wasn’t really betting anything. But eventually my brain said, “Dollars to donuts? Where’d that come from?”

The personal answer is, who knows? I don’t think anyone in the family had a habit of saying it, so it must be the product of my lifetime immersion in popular entertainments.

But in an “origin of the phrase” sense, it’s easy to find what purport to be answers: here (sort of official looking), here, and here among many others, though none really get beyond the obvious meaning of the phrase to tell you much about how it came into use.

(On the inevitable donuts vs. doughnuts debate: Google shows 21,800 hits for “dollars to donuts” and 11,300 for “dollars to doughnuts.”)

4 Replies to “Miscellaneous Mundane Inquiry”

  1. Could’ve been worse. You could have said “I’m tickled pink.” And then turned wildly around in a panic, thinking your old-maid choir teacher from high school was channeling her favorite phrase through you.

  2. Also be wary of: “By gum”, “Holy old goldenrods”, “My bride”, “My better half”, “Heavens to Betsy”, “Goodnight Nurse!”, “Jeez Louise”, “Stow that stuff you daffy boob” and “Knuckle sandwich”. But feel no shame in “Hide my lunch and call me hungry”, “Ho ho ho, this redneck’s talking about firearms” or the timeless “Moe! Larry! The Cheese!”

  3. Cripe, cripes, cripe-sake, cry-eye, cry me a river, cri-min-ie, Christ on his throne!
    Don’t say “wee doggie” or “hot-damn!”. We all know the origin of these…or do we?

  4. All right, how does the jury feel about:
    Brand spanking new?
    A hoot and a holler?
    Heavens to Murgatroid (do you capitalize “Murgatroid”)?
    A pinch between the cheek and gum?
    Book ’em Danno?
    Tippecanoe and Tyler too?
    Weapons of mass destruction?
    Wait — I’m getting off track.

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