son of a gun

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Euphemistic variant of son of a bitch. Folk etymologies suggesting nautical origins are not supported by evidence.


son of a gun (plural sons of guns)

  1. (euphemistic) son of a bitch
    That son of a gun stole my wallet!
    • 1690, anonymous, Teagueland Jeſts, or Bogg-Witticisms, part 2, page 138:
      A plaugue tauke dee, dou damn’d Shon of a Gun, de Deevil carry dee away alive for me; […]
    • 1726, The British Apollo[1], volume 2, third edition, [London]: Theodore Sanders, page 379:
      You Apollo's son, You're a son of a gun
    • 1848-50, William Makepeace Thackeray, Pendennis, ch 61:
      Why, I say, old feller, what a happy feller I once thought you, and what a miserable son of a gun you really are!
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[2]:
      "Why, Job, you old son of a gun, where the deuce have we got to now - eh?"
  2. Used encouragingly or to compliment
    You son of a gun, you did it!


son of a gun

  1. (euphemistic) Used to express anger, contempt, disgust, astonishment, disappointment, etc.
    Son of a gun! I just got stung by a wasp!


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