The term "Holy cow!" is an exclamation the astonishment or surprise, both positive and also negative. Supposedly, it is a minced oath (euphemism) for "Holy Christ!"; although not all speakers might be conscious that they are acclaiming a greater Being.

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Holy cow! You actually looked the up.Holy cow! This is why America is such a mess. They selected vacuous populists.Holy cow! There are two points being conflated here. Divine cow ... Talk around paralysis by analysis!Holy cow, ns forgot the wine divine cow, right here comes the teacher! holy cow, Batman!

Similar Expressions

Here space some similar phrases which deserve to be used rather of “Holy Cow”.

Holy smokeHoly mackerel divine MosesHoly catHoly Molly (euphemism because that "Holy Mary", Molly gift a nickname for Mary)

A perform of various other words because that Holy Cow which have much more or much less the very same (or similar) meaning.

Golly, Egadmild surprise or wonder Blimeysurprise or excited Wowwonder, amazement, an excellent pleasure, or outstanding successOh, boy!Meaning: simlar come WowOMGShort for: oh My GodGoshMeaning: simlar come GollyMy GoodnessMeaning: simlar come GollyGeemild expletive the surprise, enthusiasm, or sympathy Gadzooksmild or ironic oath(Oh) because that heaven’s sakeMeaning: for crying the end loud(What the) Heckused to increase Damn (it)irritation, contempt, dissatisfaction or annoyance Dang! suturing (it)see above

Related Terms

These terms room somewhat pertained to the synonyms above. However, they room outright swears, and also do not shot to ~ do so anything else.

Good grief!Holy crap!Good heavens!Mercy sakes!Bless my soul!My word!Goodness gracious!Oh dear.Hell"s bells!Gosh bland it!Shoot!Inconceivable! (See, e.g., The Princess Bride)¡Ay, caramba!Dear lord!Holy Mary, mother of God!Man-oh-man!Jesus H. Christ top top a bicycle!Mercy me!My heavens!Holy sh.t!What the ????For Christ"s sake!Lordy, lordy!Sweet Mary, mother of Christ / Jesus!Oh mine dear God!Christ Almighty!

Translations in various other languages


In German exist two practically identical expressions:Heiliger Bimbam! Heiliger Strohsack! and these are closely related:Was zum Kuckuck (What the heck)Donnerwetter (Golly)


In Spanish, no straight translation seems possible. Near Synonyms are:¡Córcholis (Good Lord, Gosh)¡caramba! (Good grief, Wow)¡caracole! ((literally: snail, (sea) shell); good heavens!)Santos cielo (Holy Heaven, oh my God)Dios bendito (Good God)


Also in French, no direct translation appears possible. Near Synonyms are:Bonté divine!Ça alors!Oh, La Vache!

The expression "Vache sacrée" describes “sacred cow” (with its spiritual context and also implications).

Origin & History

The catch-phrase "Holy cow! This is great!" was printed in 1919 by the Oakland (CA) Tribune, and there exist evidence, that is has been in use because 1913.

In the joined States, this exclamatory phrase is closely linked with two famous baseball announcers; Phil Rizzuto (1917 – 2007) and Harry Caray (1914 –1998). Both used the expression frequently, in order to prevent themselves native lapsing into vulgarity. In addition, the phrase was brought to public attention by reporter and broadcaster Halsey room (1919 –1977), who introduced it to the baseball lexicon.


This term is taken into consideration to be an extremely popular among teenagers. It is also the usual oath and popular exclamation in the entertain industry and is universally heard top top radio, television, and also in the movies (maybe more often than in genuine life).

In ethnology, the expression spiritual cow ad to livestock declared inviolable for religious reasons. In part pastoral and also nomadic cultures, cattle (cows and bulls / oxen) were considered to it is in a statutory symbol and also an indicator because that a who wealth.

Cows are considered holy by countless Hindus, and in most Indian claims it is illegal to slaughter them (alos in Nepal, Myanmar and other countries).

Although, because that bulls and buffaloes, a "fit-for-slaughter" certificate might be issued relying on factors favor age and also gender, continued economic viability, etc. In some Indian states-

Traditionally, Hindus execute not slaughter cattle; the intake of beef is a taboo. After the milk manufacturing (which is enabled to be consumed) a cow is usually fed up to its organic death.

Metaphorical Meaning

In colloquial language, the idiom "a holy cow" describes a taboo, the is, something the cannot it is in touched, eliminated or changed with miscellaneous else.Examples:

So yes, we would sacrifice an entire generation prior to talking around leaving the euro, it"s a divine cow for Spanish people.Cricket is India"s holy cow.At my comedy shows, there are no divine cows.For nearly seventy year the life insurance allowance industry has been a smug sacred cow feeding the public a steady line of spiritual bull.
Of Greek Origin: eu = ‚good‘ and also phēmí = ‚speech‘Euphemisms room intentionally used, come distort fact (a bit). Instead of explicate the truth with suitable words, several of them are changed by mild, indirect or pass out terms. The mostly has actually an ironic touch, however not always. It is not direct lying, but likewise not, as frequently described, is the replacement done, with the intention, to no offend the listener. That is the intention of the speak to present and also convey the late of the world much more “agreeable”.Examples:You aren’t broke; you have actually temporary negative cash flowYThere have actually been no accidental deaths, just collateral damage.

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Minced oaths room a sub-group the euphemisms used to stop swearing when expressing excitement or annoyance.To mince her words, method to choose words the no one (especially Church Authorities in former times) could possibly (officially) it is in offended.Thus, MINCED OATHs room a kind of cursing by replacing a component of a profane, blasphemous or taboo term with a more acceptable word and thus removing the objectionable characteristics. The “new” hatchet is normally a sports of the original, developed by misspelling (mispronunciation) or rearrangement w/o obliteration the the letters.