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interjection, Slang.
(used to express bewilderment, surprise, or astonishment.)

an exclamation of surprise, delight, indignation, or dismay
Usage Note

slang, with many variations: holy Moses , [holy smoke], holy mackerel , holy moly


(Variations: cats or gee or mackerel or moley or Moses or schmuts shit or smoke or sox may replace cow) An exclamation of surprise, wonder, dismay, admiration, etc; Wow!: All he could manage to say upon seeing the nude blonde was ”holy cow!”/ Holy shit, the police/ And I think holy shit, this could be a Hitler/ Holy schmuts, that would be the pride and glory

[entry form 1940s+, cats 1900+, gee 1895+, mackerel 1903+, Moses 1900+, schmutz 1990s+, shit 1940s+, smoke 1889+, sox 1909+; euphemisms for holy Christ; moley is from comic-book character Captain Marvel]
Also, holy mackerel or Moses or moly or smoke. An exclamation of surprise, astonishment, delight, or dismay, as in Holy cow, I forgot the wine, or Holy mackerel, you won! or Holy Moses, here comes the teacher! or Holy smoke, I didn’t know you were here too. The oldest of these slangy expletives uses mackerel, dating from about 1800; the one with Moses dates from about 1850 and cow from about 1920. None has any literal significance, and moly is a neologism devised to rhyme with “holy” and possibly a euphemism for “Moses.”


Read Also:

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  • Holy-day

    noun 1. a consecrated day or religious festival, especially one other than Sunday. noun 1. a day on which a religious festival is observed

  • Holy-day-of-obligation

    noun 1. a day on which Roman Catholics are duty-bound to attend Mass and abstain from certain kinds of work. 2. a day on which Episcopalians are expected to take communion. noun 1. a major feastday of the Roman Catholic Church on which Catholics are bound to attend Mass and refrain from servile work

  • Holy-family

    noun 1. a representation in art of Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. noun 1. (Christianity) the Holy Family, the infant Jesus, Mary, and St Joseph

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