(Another post I lost in drafts and am now releasing to the world. Enjoy.)
On a recent morning while carpooling, Madhatter and I were chatting (as we do), and I said “Last night during Lost, I was watching and I blurted out ‘Christ with a Constant!’ and I was pretty proud of that, so I’m sharing it with you.” This led to invocation of the phrase “Jesus H Christ” and curiosity about where the H comes from. After some speculation about it standing for Herbert or Howard, I decided I needed to know and pulled out my phone to check. I said “I’ll just Google it since it isn’t like Wikipedia is going to have a page about Where The H Comes From In Jesus H Christ.” So I googled it. Hit Number One? Wikipedia.. So (after a little giggling) I read the entry to Madhatter. He too gets a little chuckle, and then I saw there was as link to Straight Dope who, it should come as no surprise, answered this question, so I hit that link as well. In that case, the question was “Why H? Why not Jesus Q Christ or Jesus R Christ or something?” So now Jesus Q Christ is making ME giggle, but I read the answer and thought it was interesting, so I have pasted the relevant bits below:
The H stands for Harold, as in, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name” (snort).
Actually, I’ve heard numerous explanations for the H over the years. The first is that it stands for “Holy,” as in Jesus Holy Christ, a common enough blasphemy in the South, abridged to H by fast-talking Northerners. Other colorful Southern epithets include Jesus Hebe Christ and Jesus Hebrew Christ, which abbreviate the same way. The drawback of this account is that it is so boring I can barely type it without falling asleep.
…the most widely accepted derivation is from the divine monogram of Christian symbolism. The symbol, derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus (Ιησούς), is transliterated iota-eta-sigma: IHS, ΙΗϹ (with lunate sigma), JHS or JHC. Since the transliteration IHS gave rise to the backronym Iesus Hominum Salvator (Latin for “Jesus, savior of men”), it is plausible that JHC similarly led to Jesus Harold Christ, Harold coming from the mispronunciation of the word “hallowed” of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” The H has also been said to stand for “Holy.”