Pete’s Sake Day is celebrated every year on February 26. It celebrates ‘minced oaths’ — an offensive word or phrase is substituted by a polite phrase. Other examples include ‘For crying out loud!’ and ‘Sugar!’ Such euphemisms have been used for centuries whenever people have done something clumsy or when they simply need to vent. But why has ‘For Pete’s Sake’ been singled out for special attention? It is because Pete here is likely to refer to St. Peter. However, it is a euphemism used in replacement for God.
History of For Pete's Sake Day
Since its inception, For Pete’s Sake Day has garnered quite some popularity. The creators of For Pete’s Sake Day, Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat Holidays, only described the day by saying “A world wonders —after all these years, who is Pete and why do we do or not do things for his sake?”. It makes sense if you think about how often we use the phrase and how prevalent it is in our daily vocabulary.
While we don’t know everything about the phrase, we can learn a little bit about it. ‘For Pete’s sake’ is a minced oath, a euphemistic saying where words that are more acceptable to society replace words that are considered rude. Minced oaths have been used for centuries. The phrase being celebrated today perhaps came into being in the 1920s. An older version, ‘for the love of Pete,’ was recorded in print in 1918. It was likely based on the saying ‘for the love of Mike,’ which dates to the 1880s. This phrase was a euphemism for “for the love of God,” a saying that dates to the early 18th century. All of these sayings express frustration, irritation, and annoyance, or sometimes even marvel or wonder. Another similar phrase is ‘For pity’s sake,’ which may help explain why the word ‘Pete’ was chosen, being that they both start with the letter ‘P.’ The most common speculation is that the Pete being referenced in the phrase is none other than Saint Peter himself. Whatever the reason behind the day might be, it’s a fun way to investigate the etymological roots of commonly used phrases.
For Pete's Sake Day timeline
The subculture of slang starts referring to gang turfs.
The word first appears in print to describe the language used by criminals.
The rise of S.M.S. and chat rooms leads to the development of shortened texts.
Social media gives rise to exclusive phrases and slang that convey specific meanings.
For Pete's Sake Day FAQs
Why do we say For Pete’s Sake?
‘For Pete’s sake’ originated as a substitute for ‘for Christ’s (or God’s) sake.’ St. Peter’s name is used instead since it is considered less offensive.
Who is Pete and Why Do We Do Things for His Sake?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name “Pete” in these exclamations is chiefly a euphemism for God. The concept of using euphemisms as replacements for words like ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘God’ is fairly old, and likely is inspired in some part by the Ten Commandments in the “Bible.”
What does for heaven’s sake mean?
It conveys an expression of annoyance, surprise, or anger.
For Pete's Sake Day Activities
Use the phrase
Celebrate the day by using the phrase ‘for Pete's sake’ to express annoyance, irritation, or anger. Or you can use the phrase just because!
Learn about other minced oaths
Find out about other minced oaths and incorporate them in your vocabulary on For Pete’s Sake Day.
Do something nice for Pete
Know someone who’s named Pete? Treat them to a cup of coffee or do something nice for them on For Pete’s Sake Day.
5 Facts About The English Language That Will Blow Your Mind
The shortest English sentence
“I am,” is the shortest, complete sentence.
It’s a rapidly growing language
About 1,000 words are added to the dictionary each year.
Some words don’t have any rhyming words
Month, orange, silver, and purple do not rhyme with any other word.
It’s a common official language
English is the official language of 67 countries.
American English consists of different dialects
There are 24 different dialects of English in the US.
Why We Love For Pete's Sake Day
It teaches us about language
Pete’s Sake Day teaches us about languages and how certain phrases come into being. It is an interesting exercise to pursue.
It encourages us to learn
‘For Pete’s sake’ is a minced oath, and the day encourages us to learn more about such phrases and how we use them.
It’s a day to do something nice
Since you can also celebrate the day by doing something nice for your friend named Pete or Peter, the day urges us to do something nice for our loved ones.
For Pete's Sake Day dates