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Idioms, Cliches, and Slang
Word and Phrase Origins
Barack Obama

What is the origin of the cliche damned if you do and damned if you don't?

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April 08, 2008 2:35PM

Is credited to Lorenzo Dow circa 1834. Lorenzo Dow was an American evangelist. He was 19 when he started preaching and would travel around the southern and northern parts of the United States. The entire saying is: 'You can and you can't-You shall and you shan't-You will and you won't-And you will be damned if you do-And you will be damned if you don't.' It was in reference to preachers who would preach a sermon that would make the Bible contradict itself.