A lot of people out here asking what in tarnation? But I'm wondering what *is* tarnation?

@Jewbacchus thank you. I will be asking all questions on mastodon now instead of googling them

A minced oath.

In the Old West English was different in a number of ways, one of which was that foul language was primarily religious. Words like "damnation" had the kind of punch we now associate with certain four-letter words, so people would sometimes "mince" them ("tarnation" instead), just as a teacher might say "shoot" in front of young students.

Seems comical now, hence Yosemite Sam. But the words mattered then.


@anne @Jewbacchus Jesus Christ I need to stop jokingly asking questions on this webbed site

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