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What does the phrase "for the heck of it" mean?

For example, I just found this in a book:

— I just dusted the dining room for the heck of it!
— How thoughtful of you!

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closed as general reference by Kris, Andrew Leach, tchrist, choster, aedia λ May 2 '13 at 3:50

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Are looking just for definition, or for some background on origin? If the latter, it means "I don't have a good reason, I just did it." –  cobaltduck Apr 30 '13 at 20:49
    
Would be nice to know the origin as well, but I guess Sam already described it below =) –  msgmaxim Apr 30 '13 at 21:24
    
    
That was my first question, now I've realized what kind of questions can be asked here. –  msgmaxim May 12 '13 at 20:43

1 Answer 1

It's a minced oath version of "for the hell of it" which means without a particular reason, typically done for fun or enjoyment (fun and enjoyment being presumably things you would go to hell for).

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Heck may be freely substituted for hell in any idiom. BTW, "minced oath" is a 19th century term and means nothing to most English speakers; the modern one is Euphemism, which is probably not in most vocabularies, either, but has the benefit of being widely used and searchable. –  John Lawler Apr 30 '13 at 21:53
    
What is wrong with idioms.thefreedictionary.com/for+the+heck+of+it The OP asked for the meaning, not a hypernym. –  Kris May 1 '13 at 5:35

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