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.

2 Answers 2


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].

  • I get it now. Is it like cockney rhyming slang?
    – user13107
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:48
  • 1
    @user13107 Very distantly related, but differently motivated. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 4:22

But you could also say; "OH FOR PETE'S SAKE"... that is quite a popular one as well or "For F*** Sake"

so crying out loud is more like town crier when they used to have newspaper boys or "town criers" that would shout the headlines out to the ppl on the street "EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT..."

It's basically saying... For yelling out loud... but is already often said in a raised or excited tone of voice. Double entendre?

Anyways, just my opinion.

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