Although the exact origin of the term “Bejesus” is not known, it was created by Irishmen in the United States, by mincing the phrase “by Jesus”, pronouncing as “BeJesus”.
Initially, the expression was written in two words, as appearing in the London magazine The Observer on May 23rd, 1825.
There have been several other expressions, created in the same manner, as “Bejesus” that have been adopted by Americans, as listed in The Sporting Times on January 8th, 1881, listing expressions like “Bedad”, “Bejapers” and “Bemesowl”.
The arrival of the 20th century saw the rise in the prominence of the phrase “Bejesus”, appearing in magazines, newspapers, as well as novels and plays, including Irish characters.
By the second half of the century, “Bejesus” was already popular among most Americans, especially in states where Irishmen were more prevalent.
“Bejesus” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on August 20th, 2002, with several other entries following in the subsequent years.