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There is the exclamation "hot damn", which one might use, in certain contexts, similar to " All right!", or "Excellent!" (American English, as far as I know.)

Google ngrams says it doesn't see it anywhere but it does see "hot dam", which is as often as it is used as an interjection; it also seems to refer naturally to an engineering situation involving dams.

  • Where does it come from? Is there any initial provenance for it, or other languages it was possibly borrowed from?
  • Is hot diggity an euphemism for it?
  • Why hot?
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5  
I'd assumed it's a softening of 'God damn!'. –  Snubian Apr 13 '11 at 22:42
1  
I would sooner guess that it's related to the purported temperature of Hell, whence the damned reside... –  Charles Apr 13 '11 at 23:18
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The earliest reference I can find is from Hugh Wiley's first novel Wildcat, 1920:

The Wildcat, consuming a pork chop in the kitchen end of the mess hall, listened in. "Hot damn!" he exclaimed, "Grasty—was big words cooties, Honey Tone sho' would itch! Lissen at him go!"

A bit more about the book (from the Wiley link):

The Wildcat told the story of a black American drafted and sent overseas during World War I; several of Wiley's other early books, including The Prowler and Fo' Meals a Day (1927), were works depicting black life in comic and exaggerated manner, somewhat akin to minstrel show entertainment though perhaps a bit more subtle.

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And to confirm (through Google Books), it is as though "Hot Damn" appeared out of nowhere, first in that citation, and then all over during the twenties, as though people had been using it for ages. It wouldn't be unreasonable to surmise that 'The Wildcat' introduced the phrase to print and to a more writerly audience who then started repeating it and maknig it OK to print. –  Mitch Apr 14 '11 at 14:24
    
This is earlier than the OED's 1929: B. Seabrook Magic Island iv. ii. 187 ‘Hot damn,’ said Wirkus, grinning. –  Hugo Dec 7 '12 at 15:12
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Dam or damn is a alliteration in the army in India, of the name for a twopence coin, used there at that time.

It's very well mentioned and described in the book Soldiers, by Holmes.

"Frankly I don't give a damn!" etc.

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It's more likely that "Hot damn!" is a euphemism for the (to some) offensive term "Goddamn!" –  Robusto Dec 7 '12 at 15:37
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Can't speak to the origin, but it was apparently used famously by Hugh Hefner in the '50's & '60's, to the point that Will Elder's comic parody "Little Annie Fanny" emphasized it.

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protected by tchrist Sep 10 '13 at 2:34

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