tar·na·tion (tär-nā’shən) New England & Southern US
n. The act of damning or the condition of being damned.
interj. Used to express anger or annoyance.
[Alteration (influenced by TARNAL(Cf. ↑tarnal)) of DARNATION(Cf. darnation).]
Word History: The history of the noun and interjection tarnation illustrates a phenomenon called taboo deformation, by which words that can be considered offensive or impolite under some circumstances are made more acceptable or softer-sounding by altering one or more sounds that make up the words. Tarnation appears to be a variant of darnation, itself a taboo deformation of damnation, in the same way that darn is an alteration of damn. Tarnation, however, seems to have been influenced by tarnal!, another mild oath that is derived from the adjective eternal—as used in eternal damnation! for instance. The taboo deformations darn, darnation, and tarnation have been used in New England since the late 1700s.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Tarnation — may refer to:* A colloquial synonym for damnation , primarily used in the southeastern United States, part of the expression What in tarnation? used to indicate disbelief.* Tarnation (band), a San Francisco based alt country band* Tarnation… …   Wikipedia

  • Tarnation — bezeichnet: Tarnation (Band), amerikanische Independent Band Tarnation (Film), amerikanischer Dokumentarfilm aus dem Jahr 2003 Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichne …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tarnation — [tär nā′shən] n., interj. [prob. < tarnal (short dial. form of ETERNAL) + (DAM)NATION] dial. var. of DAMNATION: also used as an intensifier [what in tarnation is that?] …   English World dictionary

  • tarnation — 1784, Amer.Eng. alteration of darnation (itself a euphemism for DAMNATION (Cf. damnation)), influenced by tarnal (1790), from phrase by the Eternal (God) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tarnation — I. (ˈ)tär|nāshən, (ˈ)tȧ|n adverb (or adjective) Etymology: alteration (influenced by tarnal) of darnation dialect : damned used as a mild imprecation so tarnation still there you began listening for something Esther Forbes …   Useful english dictionary

  • tarnation — /taˈneɪʃən/ (say tah nayshuhn) Colloquial –interjection 1. damnation. –noun 2. an act or instance of saying tarnation . 3. eternal damnation. –adjective 4. damned: I can t get the tarnation car to start. –adverb 5. (an intensifier): *I ll sing… …   Australian English dictionary

  • tarnation — noun Etymology: alteration of darnation, euphemism for damnation Date: 1790 damnation often used as an interjection or intensive; often used with in < tarnation strike me James Joyce > < where in tarnation you from? Jessamyn West > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tarnation — /tahr nay sheuhn/, Older Use. interj. 1. damnation. n. 2. damnation; hell (used as a euphemism): Where in tarnation is that boy? adv. 3. damned. [1775 85; b. tarnal, dial. form of ETERNAL and DAMNATION] * * * …   Universalium

  • tarnation — noun The act or process of damnation or reprobation; hell. What in tarnation is going on? …   Wiktionary

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