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Most of the uses of the word everloving I can think of involve either vulgar or violent contexts, so you must excuse the following example:

He'd finally crossed my last nerve, so yesterday, me and my buddies caught him out and beat the everloving snot out of him.

When I look up the definition of everloving at Wiktionary, it gives me the following three definitions:

  1. Which loves unceasingly or unconditionally
  2. Of or related to one who is everloving (1), or to everlasting love
  3. Which is loved unceasingly

And the fourth states, "generic intensifier."

So I have to two questions: First, is the premise of my question wrong? Is there a phrase where everloving is used as an intensifier, and still manages to add a meaning more than making the phrase stronger? Secondly, how did everloving assume this role? How is the fourth definition of everloving connected to its first three definitions? Can anyone find or draw a plausible path?

  • I don't think it's that unusual for slang generic intensifiers to only have 'negative' connotations. That particularly applies to euphemisms, though I think it's rare to find bleeding, for example, amplifying a positive meaning. So you could say that while everloving partly just intensifies whatever follows, it may also clarify that what follows should be interpreted negatively rather than positively. – FumbleFingers May 22 '11 at 15:57
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I believe it's a euphemism for "motherf***ing", with a similar sound and a meaning close enough to be understood but not actually obscene.

  • It's more comment than answer. – user8568 May 22 '11 at 13:36
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    This is a by all means answer. You couldn't get a better answer unless you could either find evidence for this path or give another plausible path. – Peter Shor May 22 '11 at 13:47
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    @Boob: I don't know it's a euphemism with the suggested derivation, but I've no reason to doubt it, and no plausible alternative. On the other hand it's not unheard-of to beat the sweet shit out of someone. Violent people are prone to visit their violence upon everything, including language. – FumbleFingers May 22 '11 at 15:40
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    For those curious how it took that path, I've always assumed it went through en.wiktionary.org/wiki/motherloving to get there. – user2400 May 22 '11 at 19:41
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    According to Green's Dictionary of Slang the term everloving in this sense appeared in 1919, at the same time as the first printed appearance of motherfucking. It predates Runyon's coinage of the word to mean wife. – Brian Hooper May 24 '11 at 18:21
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I agree with Tim Lymington's appraisal, it was the first thing that came to mind -"motherf**king", which was softened to "motherloving". That's still offensive by its connotations if not the hard language in it. Therefore "everloving" is a further softening of the phrase.

This is, of course, conjecture, but I'm happily convinced by it :)

0

the phrase is also associated with God and Jesus...now I'm wondering if there is a similar quirk in other religious societies - that of invoking the name of God or Jesus (Allah, Buddah, etc.) to denote intensity. A shorthand for emphasis, rather than repeat a thought many times...

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – NVZ Jan 15 '17 at 3:41

protected by tchrist Feb 9 '17 at 22:43

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