Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Pete n.1

used in a variety of phrs. as a euph. for Christ/God.

In phrases

glory be to Pete

(Can.) a mild oath.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 472/1: from [...] about 1925.
honest to Pete (adv.)

(US) honestly, sincerely; also as adj.

[US]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.
[US]Van Loan ‘By a Hair’ in Old Man Curry 89: I didn’t think you’d have the heart [...] Honest to Pete I didn’t.
[US]Wash. Times (DC) 22 Nov. 10/3: Every girl should learn how to cook a real ‘honest-to-Pete’ dinner.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 199: An honest to Pete stiff dick.
L.V. Sims Death Is a Family Affair 163: He’s got a real, honest-to-Pete shiner, and his lower lip looks a little puffy.
D. Parkinson Ride the Devil’s Trail 143: ‘Honest to pete,’ Harriett assured him.
Nancy Minnis Damato Belonging 171: The man really is, honest to Pete, a real Italian Count. Royal blood, crowns, castles, all that.
in the name of Pete

a mild oath.

[US]Clovis News (NM) 6 Nov. 2/5: We come [...] each day, asking in the name of Pete for all kinds of higher pay.
[US]F. Fox Jr ‘Toonerville Folks’ [comic strip] Why in the name of Pete does this car hafta keep jumping the track right at this place!
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ 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.
[UK](con. 1943) A. Myrer Big War 52: What in the name of pete had made him say that?
what the Pete

a phr. used to indicate one’s incomprehension.

[UK](con. 1943) A. Myrer Big War 5: Now just what the pete does that ninny know about ...

In exclamations

for Pete’s sake!

see separate entry.

for the love of Pete! (also for the love of Pete and Alf!)

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.
[US]K. Macleish in Price of Honor (1991) 217: For the love of Pete get me out of this [HDAS].
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 21: For the love o’ Pete, quit pouring the whole sugar bowl on your corn flakes!
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 413: But not hea’, Mary, f’r the lova Pete.