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Origin of Expression "Great Scott" | Dental floss

Hearing the Sentence Great Scott! might produce a wide-eyed Einsteinian image, Christopher Lloyd, but people used it long before Dr. Emmett Brown's expression of surprise and dismay was and basically every other emotion in Back to the Future .

Like the real McCoy and many similar centuries-old colloquial terms, it is difficult to prove exactly when the sentence appeared and who the original "great Scott" was. Most signs, however, point to Winfield Scott, an American army general who literally and figuratively towered over his troops. Scott was 6 feet 5 inches tall and is said to have weighed up to 300 pounds at the end of his life.

"What a monster size he was!" Virginia Congressman John Sergeant Wise wrote in 1

899. "His lecture was like a lion's roar, his walk like the appearance of the elephant."

While his impressive looks were enough to force people to shout "Great" Scott ! "His military reputation was equally impressive in his presence. Scott began his career as a captain of artillery during the war of 1812, where his triumphs in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane in July 1814 made him an official promotion to major general and brought in the unofficial honor of being a national hero, Scott consolidated his status as one of the greatest military commanders of the 19th century during the Mexican-American War, delivered several important victories to the United States, and marched to Mexico City in the summer of 1847, which ended of the entire conflict, Scott ran unsuccessfully as president in 1852 and lost to Franklin Pierce, but remained a senior member of the military until he withdrew during the Civil War.

The phrase Great Scott! gained popularity At the same time, the general himself became a household name, like the lexicographer Barry Popik in executing his blog, the earliest known reference to this sentence was in an 1845 issue of a political publication in Ohio entitled Spirit of Democracy : "Great Scott! is it possible that we have ever promised to publish this law. "

Although this writer shed no light on who" Scott "was, others did. A 1952 article by Illinois Quincy Whig stated that" the exclamation of was great SCOTT ", which is used so often by many people, alludes to General Scott, the Whig candidate for the presidency." And Slate reports that the author John William De Forest mentioned the general in two different works from that period

"I follow General Scott," he wrote in his Civil War novel of 1867 Miss Ravenel's conversion from Secession to Loyalty ] "We swore by him in the army. Great Scott!" Said the companions . "

De Forest repeated the exclamation in a story from 1871, explaining that the character" used the commander-in-chief for an oath, as officers sometimes did in those days. "

B based on It looks like Winfield Scott has left his mark on military history and the history of hacked oaths – not an offensive substitute for obscenities like Great Scott! Zoonters! and these 15 other stupid explosive devices.

[h/t Slate]

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