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Just curious as to where this expression came from and when it came into being. It's one that is commonly used (among other variations, e.g. "Oh for crying out loud!"), but where does it come from originally?

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    A classic blasphemous curse, subverted into decency by crying out to St Peter, perhaps? – PyroTyger Feb 8 '11 at 14:08
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Etymonline says

For Pete's sake is attested from 1924, probably a euphemistic use of the disciple's name in place of Christ;

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  • Sometimes, "for Pete's sake" is further euphamised to "for pity's sake." – oosterwal Feb 8 '11 at 18:01
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For Pete's sake can be found earlier than 1924.

1903's The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. X., includes a paper called "Children's Interests in Words, Slang, Stories, Etc." by Edward Conradi.

From page 377 in a list of slang expressions used by girls:

List of slang words

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  • Btw how did you come across this? – Pacerier Feb 16 '16 at 11:56
  • @Pacerier Probably by searching Google Books, finding something which was only available in preview, and then searching archive.org for the same title in full view. Sometimes hathitrust.org also has them too. – Hugo Feb 16 '16 at 14:17

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