Good gawd, what’s he going on about now?

Published on 2 April 2019 in , ,

First I start this with some important information. Despite what it looks like at the beginning, this is NOT a piece about Brexit. Inspired by something Brexit related, yes. But about Brexit? No.

With that said, let me begin. Earlier today I wrote this on Twitter:

There is one thing I don’t understand. If a general election is deemed to be the solution (and gawd help us if that is the deemed the best answer…), what Brexit policy will they stand on?

@andrewbowden, 2 April 2019

I repeat, this is not about Brexit. It’s about one word in the above.


It’s not a phrase I have come across very much in my life. At least, not spelt out like that. According to Google’s Ngram viewer, usage peaked in the 1920s. Perhaps everyone exclaimed it whilst doing the Charleston or something.

I came across it many years later, in a series of Grange Hill novels stocked in my high school library. Books with stories of Ziggy and Whammo and loads of other characters who had long gone from the TV screen. But which I read anyway. And on every page there seemed to be someone whining “Oh Gawd”, “Good Gawd”, or perhaps just “Gawd!

As a teenager who dilligently went to church every week, I was probably quite anti this taking the Lord’s name in vain thing, even if it was mis-spelt. I was quite anti Orbital’s song Satan for similar reasons when that came out a few years later. These days I am an athiest. But I still don’t use the “Lord’s name” in exclamation. Given I don’t believe in the existance of any god, it feels like using the word kind of gives the entire principle of them some legitimacy. Besides, why bother when there are much better words beginning with F, T, S and C to use instead?

But they’re not words I tend to use in writing. Or very much at all since I had children. So today I dug out gawd from my memory banks. It’s a kind of fake swear. An exclamation of disbelief. One that really doesn’t mean anything at all.

See also early Red Dwarf where they used the word Goyt as a fake swear word. Which still amuses me as the Goyt is a river and I live near it…