Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Ventre-saint-Gris!

 Ventilate a Subject (To).Ventril’oquism, 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Ventre-saint-Gris!
 
The usual oath of Henri IV. About equal to “Corpus Christi.” A similar juron is “Par le ventre de Dieu” (Ventre-dieu! or Ventrebleu!). Cris for Christ is familiarised by our common phrase “the criss-cross or cris-cross row”; and if saint refers to Christ we have a similar phrase in St. Saviour’s. Rabelais has “Par sainet Gris”; and William Price, “the Arch-Druid,” who died in 1893, describes himself in the Medical Directory as “Decipherer of the Pedigree of Jessu Grist.” Chaucer writes the word “Crist.”   1
   Mr. F. Adams has sent me two quotations from the Romance of Huon de Bordeau, from a MS. dated 1250—   2
       
“Abes, dist Karles, tort avés, par saint Crist.”
       
(Line 1,473.)
       
“Sire, dist Hues, tort aves, par saint Crist.”
       
(Line 2,218.)
   But a correspondent of Notes and Queries sends this quotation—   3
        “Ce prince [Henri IV.] avoit pris l’habitude d’employer cette expression. ‘Ventre-saint-Gris,’ comme une espece de jurement, lorsqu’il etoit encore infant, ses gouverneurs craignant qu’il ne s’habituâl à jurer … lui avoient permis de dire ‘Ventre-saint-Gris,’ qui étoit un terme derision qu’ils appliquoent aux Franciscans … de la couleur de leur habillements.”—Feb. 10th, 1894, p. 113.
 


 Ventilate a Subject (To).Ventril’oquism, 

 
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