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Gadzooks is one of the fake swear words invented by those television cowboys who are supposed to have dirty mouths but it's on TV Land and your Grandma watches it and if they put real swear words the FCC would get mad and start assessing fines and license suspensions like a religious fanatic, and if by some miracle they didn't notice it, Grandma would watch it and the guy would be like "*swear words*" and she'd have another heart attack, this time a really big one, and she would die. So they have to use replacement words.
Scholars have concluded that Gad probably refers to the Supreme Deity, the all-knowing one, whom we must not name, hence Gad. Whereas Zooks might be one of the awful acts of retribution He might take, which we also must not mention, not wanting to give Him any ideas, and it's a darned good thing He can't read our minds and He only speaks Latin anyway. Gadzooks thus refers to divine, eternal...well, you know. Bad stuff.
edit Example usage
The following example is taken from an episode of Cowboy-O-Rama that aired in 1961.
- Cowboy Pete: OOOOOOOOHWEEEEEEEEE! Them sure is some fine drinks you got there Bartender Joe.
- Bartender Joe: I reckon these are some nice gosh durn drinks if I do say so m'self.
- Cowboy Pete: It's not like those other fruitin' drinks. Hoo doggy! They taste like crud!
- Bartender Joe: *chortles* Watch yer language Pete, thar might be a laydeh in here, you idjit!
- Miss Kitty: I might be a lady, but I can swear like a danged sailor.
- Cowboy Pete: Zounds! You were right!
- Miss Kitty: That's not all: GADZOOKS GADZOOKS GADZOOKS GADZOOKS GADZOOKS GADZOOKS GADZOOOOOOOOKS!
- Bartender Joe: Oh Bull Feathers! She dun killed me with her swearing! *dies*
- Cowboy Pete and Miss Kitty make out.
This scene obviously was filmed prior to the era in which the typical movie cowboy was a promiscuous homosexual.
edit Gadzooks stores
Gadzooks was also a chain of clothing stores that started in 1983. Its use of the word Gadzooks was considered edgy at the time. Unfortunately, its fashion was not. In 2003, it dropped its trousers and concentrated on female clothing. Shortly after, it dropped its tank-tops and tried to ply its charms in Bankruptcy Court. Most of its space in shopping malls is now occupied by a successor store called Jesus Shit.
Gadzooks was invented by Napoleon Bonaparte after invading a great empire whose law was, "No swearing, ever, ever, under any circumstances, or we will be forced to make you watch Yatta and eat crappy mini marshmallows. The colored ones." Angry that he couldn't pillage the town and have his way with its women unless he cured his horrible swearing habit, Napoleon created his own proxies for swear words--cute little ones like zût!--which the rulers of that empire didn't understand, also because it was all French. Anyway one of them was Gadzooks and he said it and stuff and after this my history book just kind of segues into the Revolution so can I just like...move on?