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What Is The Meaning Of Fanny Adams?

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Claire Pateman answered
The phrase 'Sweet Fa nny Adams' is a euphemism for 'sweet nothing' that originated from the rather macabre sense of humour of British Sailors in 1869. They had been served with their rations of tins of mutton and they thought that the contents resembled the butchered remains of a little girl, Fa nny Adams.

The true story of Fanny Adams murder is a very sad and horrific one. She was aged 8 years and 4 months when she was cruelly murdered on August 24th, 1867 in Alton, Hampshire, England.

She had been abducted by a man, later found to be 29 year old Frederick Baker. First her severed head was found, lying on two poles, deeply slashed from mouth to ear and across the left temple. Her right ear had been cut off and both eyes were missing.One of her legs and a thigh were also found close by. A wider search revealed her dismembered torso. The entire contents of chest and pelvis had been torn out and scattered, with some internal organs even further slashed or mutilated. Many parts of her body were not found until several days later and her eyes were found in the River Wey.

Baker was hanged in front of Winchester's County Prison at 8am on Christmas Eve, 1867. A crowd of 5000 watched.

Not a very nice story - but that is where the phrase comes from!

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