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interjection Archaic.
  1. (used as a mild oath.)

Origin of zounds

First recorded in 1590–1600; variant of 'swounds
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zounds

Historical Examples

  • Zounds, Hogan, do you mean that Joseph Ashburn was betraying me into this man's hands?

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Why, zounds, his wife and children were not with him on the pavement.

    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete

    Charles James Lever (1806-1872)

  • Zounds, says the Surgeon in a surprize, what, my Wife dine at your House!

  • "Zounds; but you look like a little tigress," he exclaimed, admiringly.

  • "Zounds, Cleland, you got the worst of it there," cried a gentleman in a flaxen wig.

    Devereux, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for zounds


swounds (zwaʊndz, zaʊndz)

  1. archaic a mild oath indicating surprise, indignation, etc

Word Origin

C16: euphemistic shortening of God's wounds
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for zounds

c.1600, oath of surprise or anger, altered from (by) God's wounds!

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper