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Great Scott!

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  • Great Scott! is and interjection that dates from the 1800s. It is a minced oath, which is an oath in which the profane or offensive word is replaced with a euphemism in order to make the term suitable for all audiences. We will look at the meaning of the term Great Scott!, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Great Scott! is an exclamation of dismay or surprise. Many people first encountered this term by watching the Back to the Future movies, Great Scott! was a phrase used frequently by Christopher Lloyd’s character, Dr. Brown. The phrase Great Scott! can be traced to the 1800s, it is a reference to American General Winfield Scott. Winfield Scott was a major figure in the Mexican-American war in the late 1840s. Scott was also the commander-in-chief of the American Army at the outset of the Civil War. He was an imposing man, standing over six feet, five inches and weighing three hundred pounds, making it easy to understand how the word great became attached to his name. The men in his command adopted the exclamation Great Scott! as a way to “swear by” their leadership. Today, Great Scott is considered a somewhat old-fashioned expression.

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    Examples

    Great Scott! Someone Mashed Up ‘Back To The Future’ And ‘Westworld’ (The Huffington Post)

    Great Scott! Back to the Future DeLorean model stuns with ‘outrageous’ £1,000 price (The Daily Star)

    Xander Layden rocks the house as Eddie in the wildest rock song in the show, “Hot Patootie,” and later — outstanding actor that he is — he appears with a radically different voice and appearance as Dr. Scott, whom the audience keeps calling “Great Scott.” (The News Tribune)

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