Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 09:07:00 -0600

From: "Emerson, Jessie J" jjemerso[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]INGR.COM

Subject: Re: Blessings and other southern euphemisms

David A. Johns wrote:

In my experience (pre-southern) expressions like "bless his heart"

were used by old ladies when talking about a child who had done

something good: "He brought me a flower from the garden, bless his

heart." There was no question that the expression was positive.

I believe the expression as used above contains a note of pathos. It's

almost always directed at either a young person, an old person (who may

have some sort of health problem), or a sick person. The intention is

positive, but with pity, and it's not the same as "isn't that sweet."

"That student really blessed me out over the grade I gave her."

"Bless me out" has been around quite a long time and is not as new (I

don't think) as the "damn his bones" meaning of "bless his heart" (which

I've never heard).

Jessie Emerson