(All) my eye and Betty Martin!

The strange exclamation in the title means “Fiddlesticks! Humbug! Nonsense!” Many people will recognize the phrase (for, among others, Dickens and Agatha Christie used it), but today hardly anyone
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The strange exclamation in the title means “Fiddlesticks! Humbug! Nonsense!” Many people will recognize the phrase (for, among others, Dickens and Agatha Christie used it), but today hardly anyone requires Betty Martin’s help for giving vent to indignant amazement. However, the Internet is abuzz with questions about the origin of the idiom, guarded explanations, and readers’ comments. Therefore, considering that “The Oxford Etymologist” must keep abreast of the times, I decided to make public the information I have in my database, even though I, like most of my predecessors, am unable to offer any etymology of this puzzling ejaculation, as such phrases were called in the golden and innocent past. In all my eye and Betty Martin, one segment causes no trouble. My eye, like my foot, is an expression of surprise, though my eye seems to be dated. All has no explanation, and the identity of Betty Martin remains a mystery. Two things should be taken into consideration before we embark on our. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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