What Does For Pete’s Sake Mean?

For Pete’s Sake Meaning

Definition: Oh my goodness!

This interjection expresses frustration or annoyance. Similar expressions include for crying out loud and for pity’s sake.

Origin of For Pete’s Sake

This comes from the expression for Christ’s sake. Some people, for religious reasons, do not want to use the word Christ in a negative way, and, instead, use Pete as an alternative. It originated around the year 1900.

Other similar phrases include For Heaven’s sake, For Pity’s sake, For the love of Mike.

Examples of For Pete’s Sake

for the love of peteIn this example, a man uses the expression when he becomes frustrated during a sporting event.

Rodrigo: Alisha, I know this is the first time we’ve played tennis together, but I hope it’s okay for me to give you some friendly advice.

Alisha: Um, okay. What is it?

Rodrigo: Try to go a little faster. You keep missing the ball because you’re moving too slowly.

Alisha: I’ll try.

Rodrigo: Here, they’re serving the ball now. Get ready!

Alisha: Oh, shoot! Sorry, I missed it again.

Rodrigo: For Pete’s sake, Alisha! You didn’t even try to move!

Alisha: No need to be rude! I’m trying my best.

for peetes sakeIn the example below, two friends are discussing the fancy dinner party they are throwing in the neat future.

Luis: Stephanie, I need your help getting the music set up. I can’t figure out how to get the speakers to play using Bluetooth.

Stephanie: Luis, you were supposed to have that ready hours ago! Didn’t you use the schedule I gave you to get everything ready?

Luis: What schedule? I thought we were just preparing on our own, without coordinating on tasks.

Stephanie: Oh, for Pete’s sake! You never even opened my email to you, did you? We could have saved so much time if you would be a little more organized.

Luis: Sorry!

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about the admissions process at competitive universities.

  • In the end, Emmanuela was muscled out of the running by some superstars in her class and put on the wait list. The alums were furious. I got a testy voice mail from Hal the day after the decision letters went out. “For Pete’s sake, your office is sending us mixed messages. You tell us to find gems like Emmanuela with atypical backgrounds, but then you don’t accept them. What gives?” –New York Post

This excerpt is from an advice column. An employee received a plaque in recognition of his or her hard work. The employee would rather have money instead. The columnist suggests simply taking the plaque.

  • You can simply accept the recognition graciously and not order anything (just don’t hang the plaque in your office, for Pete’s sake!). –New York Post


People use the interjection for Pete’s sake to show the negative emotions they are experiencing.