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I believe it is primarily an American phrase, used as an exclamation:

Heavens to Betsy, no! I would never do such a thing!

What is the origin of that phrase? Do we know who Betsy is?

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The oldest instance in Google Books is from 1857:… – nohat Mar 9 '11 at 23:23

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Charles E. Funk suggests that its origins are "completely unsolvable."

I am of the opinion that the phrase is pseudo-profanity derived from "Hell's Bells", but there is no evidence of that, either.

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I like your "Hell's Bells" concept, it makes the most sense of anything I can think of. – Darren Oct 21 '14 at 21:43

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