Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Used as a mild or ironic oath: "Gadzooks! Is there a panic detector, akin to a smoke detector, that sniffs anxiety in the air?” ( George F. Will).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. An expression of surprise, shock etc.

Etymologies

Perhaps alteration of God's hooks, the nails of the crucifixion of Christ.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Contraction of God’s hooks, with reference to the nails of the crucifixion of Jesus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In addition, they considered the surprising success of Mr. Marmaduke Fennel's eighteenth-century story, For Love of a Lady, as compared with the more moderate sales of Miss Elspeth Lancaster's In Scarlet Sidon, that candid romance of the brothel; deducing therefrom that the "gadzooks" and "by'r lady" type of reading-matter was ready to revive in vogue.

    The Cream of the Jest: A Comedy of Evasions

  • Isn't the lady writing, not in her original Bangla (red lines again!) or Bengali (better!) but – gadzooks – in English?

    A Bangladeshi Bluestocking

  • This afternoon, two local Union 76/Conoco Phillips (gadzooks, these mergers make for long names) gas stations in my Los Angeles neighborhood posted the number I recently anticipated would be the price this summer: full serve 91-Octane (premium) gasoline: $4.99/gallon.

    Grain Market Manipulation = Petrofraud Redux

  • The Mail On Sunday might be a sewer of sleaze and disreputable journalism, but gadzooks, it does have its uses sometimes..

    Mark Clarke: Womaniser and general bastard?

  • The TZs are pronounced like the terminal ds in the word dads or like the dz in gadzooks.

    World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

  • Hopefully by now you will be aware of my colleague Travis - gadzooks, he is Timothy Claypole, and he seems to have inherited some of his magical powers.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • And thy chiefest accomplishment is taking snuff with a bel air, patching, painting, powdering like a woman, and squeaking like an eunuch, gadzooks.

    The Beau Defeated: or, The Lucky Younger Brother

  • "Have you, good master [gramercies, gadzooks, etc., according to taste], a couple of sugar figures in Spanish dress, each draped in a cloak?"

    From a Terrace in Prague

  • A meal at the club, and gadzooks but his stomach was in arms!

    A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago

  • My engaging friend here has -- an I mistake not -- a passport ready for me in the pocket of his sable-hued coat, and as we are hoping effectually to spit one another over there ... gadzooks! but there's the specific purpose ....

    The Elusive Pimpernel

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I had always heard the 'hooks' were just old slang for 'hands.'

    October 6, 2010

  • Good heavens, you're right! ;-)

    July 20, 2007

  • I kinda doubt it was. Nonreligious people use religiously inspired slang all the time. Possibly just to annoy the religious people. ;-)

    July 20, 2007

  • You know, this is just creepy. Why the hell would an Xtian want to use an epithet referring to the nails on the cross? Religious people are weird. Of course, that's assuming it was a Christian who came up with the phrase.

    July 20, 2007

  • God's hooks (referring, I think, to the nails in the cross)

    February 14, 2007