I've just been faced with the statement "Son of a gun" in a film, and i don't know the meaning of it.

I think it must be an idiom, but i did not find anything when i searched for it in the google.


As @CopperKettle points out it's actually son of a gun.

The phrase potentially has its origin in a Royal Navy requirement that pregnant women aboard naval vessels give birth in the space between the broadside guns, in order to keep the gangways and crew decks clear. Admiral William Henry Smyth wrote in his 1867 book, The Sailor's Word-Book: "Son of a gun, an epithet conveying contempt in a slight degree, and originally applied to boys born afloat, when women were permitted to accompany their husbands to sea; one admiral declared he literally was thus cradled, under the breast of a gun-carriage." - Wikipedia

  • 2
    It's important to realize that even though this is the origin of the phrase, very few people (if any) will think of this when they hear the phrase. It's really used as a euphemism for "son of a bitch". – DJMcMayhem Jul 17 '15 at 14:26
  • That's actually covered by Admiral William Henry Smyth himself: "Son of a gun, an epithet conveying contempt in a slight degree". It's not so much a stand-in for it, they're just similar phrases with similar contexts. i.e. you're a [son] born of [a method I find distasteful]. – Nathan Hornby Jul 17 '15 at 15:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.