Hell in a Handbasket | Phrase Definition, Origin & Examples


Interesting fact about Hell in a Handbasket

The origin of the phrase ‘hell in a handbasket’ can be found in the practice of capturing the heads of guillotine victims in a basket, with the presumption being that these criminals would be going straight to hell for their crimes. Although the phrase is thought to have originated sometime during the 18th century, the first printed example is found in Winslow Ayer’s book on the American Civil War, The Great North-Western Conspiracy. A reprint was published in 1867’s House Documents in the U.S. Congress: “Speaking of men who had been arrested, Judge Morris said “Some of our very best, and thousands of brave men, at this very moment in Camp Douglas, are our friends;


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