Today’s WotD is that quintessential Cockney expression:
• exclamation Brit. Informal expressing surprise, excitement, or alarm.
— ORIGIN altered form of God blind (or blame) me!, 19th Century
Contrary to public opinion, Dick van Dyke did not say ‘Cor blimey! Luv a duck’ in Mary Poppins … although most people use that particular phrase when demonstrating just how awful his Cockney accent really was!
Blimey dates from a time when blasphemy was still frowned upon. People found ways of swearing without actually using God’s name in vain. It occurs in various formats including:
Cor blimey Cor being a contraction of God
Gawd (or Gor) blimey Gawd/Gor=God
Blimey O’Reilly … although why poor O’Reilly needs to be blinded I haven’t been able to establish!
Most dictionaries still list blimey as a expletive, albeit it a minor one. Nowdays, it actually equates to wow or ‘my goodness!
… All together now … ‘Eets a jolly horlyday wiv Meery’ …