all my eye and Betty Martin

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

In Britain during the 1700s, the phrase was a common claim of dismissal (similar to 'nonsense', or 'hogwash'), or a way to declare disbelief of an absurdity. The phrase possibly originated as the punch line of a joke. Most variations of the joke involve a British sailor visiting Italy. He overhears a Latin prayer, "Ah! mihi, bea’te Martine" (which translates to "Ah! Grant to me, blessed Martin", referring to St. Martin). The sailor misheard the prayer, and later used the phrase as "All my eye and Betty Martin".

Noun[edit]

all my eye and Betty Martin (uncountable)

  1. (dated) rubbish, humbug
    • 1881 Thomas Bastard, The Autobiography of Cockney Tom, at Project Gutenberg Australia
      All my eye and Betty Martin, thought I, I will have no more truck with you.
    • 1893 November, R. D. Blackmore, "Perlycross", in Macmillan's Magazine, vol. LXIX, page 83,
      Oh, that's all my eye and Betty Martin! Nobody believes that, I should hope.

Synonyms[edit]