“Gosh!” This is a word that we had heard for a long time. Last Saturday, the new Miss France, Vaimalama Chaves, threw a “Sapristi”. An interjection to the less old-fashioned and did not fail to provoke surprise among viewers. It must be said that the term is two hundred years old. But where does it come from? Le Figaro returns to its origin.

An origin that comes straight from the religion. Are we in the context of the Eighteenth century. At this time, France is not yet the de-christianized society as we know it. God is everywhere. The name of the “all-powerful” is so sacred. Not a question of blasphemy. Thus we read in a psalm of the Exodus: “You shall invoqueras point the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Honest people must redouble their inventiveness to swear in peace. The propriety is queen including in the rudeness, of course!


To work around the ban, it adds, by way of example of the suffixes in “blue”. It is said “Corbleu”, “swearing by bacchus”, “vertubleu”, etc, story of singer, with the assonance in “had”, the name of God. It is also said often “mordienne”, “parguenne”, “jarniguienne” and “sapristi”. Or at least “sacristi”. Because, the interjection that we are interested in is actually a distortion of the word “rite”. A word that is also found in the formula of the people, “sacrebleu”.

Sacristi, therefore, is an interjection that one note at the end of the Eighteenth century. And this, until the mid-Nineteenth century, for example, under the feathers de Maupassant, de Goncourt, Daudet. And even that of the playwright Eugene Labiche. The latter reducing by apheresis with “pristi”, in his comedy An Italian straw Hat .

The formula now outdated is a lovely way to remind us that our interjections familiar can be literary. Let us also note that “sapristi” has its derivatives: “saperlotte”, “saprelotte” and “sapristoche”. Name of a little man!