perish the thought

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From the obsolete transitive sense of perish, "to cause to perish", itself possibly from a misunderstanding of the subjunctive mood in set phrases (i.e. [may it] perish, the thought) taken as transitive.


perish the thought

  1. May the thought perish; said of an idea or suggestion which is undesirable.
    • 1885, Horatio Alger, Hector's Inheritance, ch. 13:
      What! was he to lose his hold over these boys, and that because he was unable to cope with a boy much smaller and younger than himself? Perish the thought!
    • 2007 June 22, Grace Dent, The Guardian, G2, p. 3:
      According to industry gossips, Richard and Judy may soon go their separate ways. Not maritally; no, perish the thought.