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How did the phrase/idiom for crying out loud come about? I don't understand what is "for" doing here. For X means that X is a requirement that has to be fulfilled. Why don't you do it *for X* means You should do it in order to fulfill condition X. In that sense, crying out doesn't make sense to me. Also is that a cry like cry in pain or cry in anger?

I have read http://ezinearticles.com/?For-Crying-Out-Loud!-What-is-the-Origin-of-This-Strange-Expression?&id=4533931 but it doesn't answer the question.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The article does answer the question -- this is a minced oath, an oath which has had its pronunciation changed so it no longer evokes a taboo term which might give offense (and at one time would have incurred serious criminal charges).

The cry syllable is obviously a trimmed-down Christ, as the author says. However, I find his little story about the crying baby highly implausible. To my ear it is clearly a minced version of for Christ our Lord['s sake].

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I get it now. Is it like cockney rhyming slang? –  user13107 Mar 7 at 3:48
1  
@user13107 Very distantly related, but differently motivated. –  StoneyB Mar 7 at 4:22

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