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The "or so help me" at the end of a sentence

Put that thing back where it came from or so help me.
Eat your peas or so help me!

Is this phrase actually something threatening and it can be understood as something like "or else"? I'm wondering if it's actually shortened from "or, so help me God, I'll hurt you".

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Yes, you've got it. Nice job. This expression is used all over the U.S. and (I think) in other English speaking countries as well. It's not especially Southern.

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