Used as a general term of exclamation or surprise similar to oh my lord
, or oh my goodness
, or oh shit
. Mostly used by people in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's. Possibly a minced oath
(softened form of swearing) substitute for "For the Lord's sake."
See also land sake
Land sakes alive, my grandmother said. That sure was a swell sunset.