Fun Fact September 21, 2020.
21 September 2020
What in tarnation? Tarnation? What is tarnation? According Geoffrey Hughes form the book An Encyclopedia of Swearing, tarnation first appeared in writing in 1784, shortly after “darn” which showed up in 1770, but before “dang” which made it to print in 1790 or “durned” 1876. The word is one of a wide variety of euphemistic expressions of surprise, bewilderment or anger that came about in 18th and 19th century America. Most likely due to our Puritan legacy, Americans were, during this period, especially creative in coming up with phrases and words that allowed them to express strong emotions while not actually cussing or cursing. Heck, drat, gosh, jiminy, gee whiz and golddarn are some other favorites. So now you know what in the Sam Hill tarnation means. See what I did there?