The usage of "tarnation" is incorrect.
The actual usage of this word "tarnation" was a combination of the phrase "the entire nation." The original vernacular was to used similar in the similar context phrase "What in the world?" but used in the United States orginally as its basis of comparison: "What in the entire nation?" or simply: "What in tarnation?" There is no notion or connection to the actual damning of said object in question. The words of the phrase have been merged together to simpify the original phrase due to regional accents and dialects.
Just as one would wonder where "in tarnation is that boy?" - by the true origin, the boy would not be lost in an eternal damning situation, but simply somewhere "in the entire nation."
Other incorrect originations include a racist remark of assuming "tarnation" was contructed from the words "tar" or black, and "nation" designating the current country or nation.
220.127.116.11 14:28, 9 December 2013 (UTC)MGT
- That's an interesting theory, but do you have any evidence to support it? I've consulted four different sources, all of which are pretty uniform in saying that what is in the entry is essentially correct. "Where in tarnation" is essentially equivalent to "where the hell"—not a literal sense of damnation or being in Hell, but simply an emphatic assertion of "where." —Dajagr (talk) 18:00, 9 December 2013 (UTC)