honest to goodness
Also found in: Acronyms.
honest to goodness
1. expression Honestly; truly; genuinely. Used to emphasize the veracity of one's statement. "Goodness" here is a substitution of the word "God," so as to avoid potential blasphemy. I swear it wasn't me who broke the lamp, honest to goodness! Honest to goodness, how are we supposed to finish this project on time with half of our staff laid off?
2. adjective Genuine; actual. In this usage, the phrase is hyphenated. It was a real, honest-to-goodness treasure map. I couldn't believe me eyes.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Honest to goodness.and Honest to God.; Honest to Pete.
I speak the truth. (Some people may object to the use of God in this phrase.) Did he really say that? Honest to goodness? Honest to Pete, I've been to the South Pole.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
honest to ˈGod/ˈgoodnessused for emphasizing the truth of what you are saying: I didn’t tell anybody — honest to God! ▶ ˌhonest-to-ˈgoodness adj. (approving) simple and good: This book is an honest-to-goodness attempt to describe life as a political leader.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
honest to goodness/God/Pete
Truly; I swear this is true. These assertions of veracity date from about 1900. The earliest seems to have been honest to God, which appeared in Jack London’s Valley of the Moon (1913). Goodness and Pete are probably euphemisms for “God,” which some might have considered blasphemous. Another equivalent, now considered offensive, is honest Injun (or Indian), dating from the second half of the 1800s and popularized by Mark Twain in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer