used in a variety of phrs. as a euph. for Christ/God.
(Can.) a mild oath.
|DSUE (8th edn) 472/1: from [...] about 1925.|
(US) honestly, sincerely; also as adj.
|El Paso Herald (TX) 28 Mar. 9/1: Honest to Pete, Joe, if you don’t stop that yawning a bat will fly into the cave.|
|Old Man Curry 89: I didn’t think you’d have the heart [...] Honest to Pete I didn’t.‘By a Hair’ in|
|Wash. Times (DC) 22 Nov. 10/3: Every girl should learn how to cook a real ‘honest-to-Pete’ dinner.|
|Mama Black Widow 199: An honest to Pete stiff dick.|
|Death Is a Family Affair 163: He’s got a real, honest-to-Pete shiner, and his lower lip looks a little puffy.|
|Ride the Devil’s Trail 143: ‘Honest to pete,’ Harriett assured him.|
|Belonging 171: The man really is, honest to Pete, a real Italian Count. Royal blood, crowns, castles, all that.|
a mild oath.
|Clovis News (NM) 6 Nov. 2/5: We come [...] each day, asking in the name of Pete for all kinds of higher pay.|
|‘Toonerville Folks’ [comic strip] Why in the name of Pete does this car hafta keep jumping the track right at this place!|
|Best of Myles (1968) 33: I have been wondering all night who in the name of Pete that fat cow in the fur coat is.|
|(con. 1943) Big War 52: What in the name of pete had made him say that?|
a phr. used to indicate one’s incomprehension.
|(con. 1943) Big War 5: Now just what the pete does that ninny know about ...|
see separate entry.
a euph. excl. of exasperation or surprise, for goodness’ sake!
|Altantic Monthly 828: If you are going to be a military pilot, for the love of Pete and Alf, be one.|
|in Price of Honor (1991) 217: For the love of Pete get me out of this [HDAS].|
|Babbitt (1974) 21: For the love o’ Pete, quit pouring the whole sugar bowl on your corn flakes!|
|Call It Sleep (1977) 413: But not hea’, Mary, f’r the lova Pete.|