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Well-I don't like saying the name if I can help it. No one does.

Why not?

Gulpin' gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared.

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  • 2
    Gulpin' is his way of pronouncing gulping. Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 8:46
  • 4
    This may not be obvious for those who haven't read the books, but this is Hagrid talking to Harry in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone".
    – Teepeemm
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 13:55

1 Answer 1

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"Gulpin' gargoyles" is an interjection that the author invented. It's equivalent to saying, "For Christ's sake" or "My god".

This type of interjection always comes at the beginning of what you're saying, and is always a noun phrase. The noun phrase can be just about anything, but --as with this case-- it's usually somewhat related to the context, often includes alliteration, and frequently has an "-ing" adjective + noun. A gargoyle is a mythical creature you might expect in a Harry Potter book, the two "g" sounds make the alliteration, and the two words are an "-ing" adjective and a noun.

Another common feature of these interjections that's not present in this one is beginning with "Holy", like these lines from the TV series "Batman":

Holy Las Vegas!
Holy mechanical armies!
Holy magic lantern!

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  • My father used to say 'Jumping Jesus!'. Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 6:31
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    @MichaelHarvey I think I need to steal "Jumping Jesus".
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 13:46
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    @MichaelHarvey Not from my father, but I've heard "Jumpin' Jehosephat"
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 14:26
  • Kind of in the same vein as "Merlin's beard!" Not a phrase anyone outside of the Potterverse would use, but you get the idea. Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 17:48

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