The hatchet "Holy cow!" is an exclamation of astonishment or surprise, both positive and negative. Supposedly, it is a minced oath (euphemism) for "Holy Christ!"; although not all speakers may be mindful that they room acclaiming a higher 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. Holy cow ... Talk around paralysis by analysis!Holy cow, ns forgot the wine divine cow, right here comes the teacher! divine cow, Batman!

Similar Expressions

Here room some comparable phrases which can be used rather of “Holy Cow”.

Holy smokeHoly mackerel divine MosesHoly catHoly Molly (euphemism for "Holy Mary", Molly being a nickname because that 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 surprised or wonder Blimeysurprise or excited Wowwonder, amazement, great pleasure, or impressive successOh, boy!Meaning: simlar to WowOMGShort for: oh My GodGoshMeaning: simlar to GollyMy GoodnessMeaning: simlar to 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 intensify Damn (it)irritation, contempt, discontent or annoyance Dang! darn (it)see over

Related Terms

These terms are somewhat concerned the synonyms above. However, they are outright swears, and also do not try to pretend anything else.

Good grief!Holy crap!Good heavens!Mercy sakes!Bless my soul!My word!Goodness gracious!Oh dear.Hell"s bells!Gosh darn 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 my dear God!Christ Almighty!

Translations in other languages


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


In Spanish, no straight translation appears possible. Nearby 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 seems possible. Nearby Synonyms are:Bonté divine!Ça alors!Oh, La Vache!

The expression "Vache sacrée" refers to “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, the is has been in use because 1913.

In the joined States, this exclamatory expression is closely connected with two well-known baseball announcers; Phil Rizzuto (1917 – 2007) and also Harry Caray (1914 –1998). Both provided the expression frequently, in stimulate to avoid themselves indigenous lapsing into vulgarity. In addition, the phrase was lugged to public fist by reporter and also broadcaster Halsey room (1919 –1977), who presented it come the baseball lexicon.


This hatchet is taken into consideration to be really popular among teenagers. That is additionally the typical oath and also popular exclamation in the entertainment industry and also is universally heard ~ above radio, television, and in the movie (maybe more often 보다 in genuine life).

In ethnology, the expression sacred cow advert to livestock declared inviolable for spiritual reasons. In some pastoral and also nomadic cultures, livestock (cows and bulls / oxen) were taken into consideration to be a statutory symbol and also an indicator for a person’s wealth.

Cows are taken into consideration holy by countless Hindus, and in many Indian says it is illegal come slaughter castle (alos in Nepal, Myanmar and other countries).

Although, for bulls and also buffaloes, a "fit-for-slaughter" certificate might be issued depending on factors prefer age and gender, ongoing economic viability, etc. In some Indian states-

Traditionally, Hindus perform not slaughter cattle; the intake of beef is a taboo. After ~ the milk manufacturing (which is allowed to be consumed) a cow is generally fed up to its herbal death.

Metaphorical Meaning

In colloquial language, the idiom "a holy cow" describes a taboo, that is, something that cannot it is in touched, gotten rid of or replaced with other else.Examples:

So yes, we would sacrifice whole generation prior to talking about leaving the euro, it"s a holy cow because that Spanish people.Cricket is India"s divine cow.At my comedy shows, there room no divine cows.For almost seventy year the life insurance money industry has actually been a smug sacred cow feeding the general public a steady line of sacred bull.
Of Greek Origin: eu = ‚good‘ and phēmí = ‚speech‘Euphemisms are intentionally used, to distort reality (a bit). Rather of relenten the truth with ideal words, several of them are changed by mild, indirect or vague terms. That mostly has an ironic touch, yet not always. It is not straight lying, but additionally not, as frequently described, is the instead of done, v the intention, to no offend the listener. The is the intention of the speaker to present and also convey the late of the world an ext “agreeable”.Examples:You aren’t broke; you have temporary negative cash flowYThere have been no inadvertently deaths, just collateral damage.

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Minced oaths space a sub-group the euphemisms provided to stop swearing when expressing excitement or annoyance.To mince her words, method to choose words the no one (especially Church Authorities in previous times) can possibly (officially) be offended.Thus, MINCED OATHs are a kind of cursing by replacing a part of a profane, blasphemous or taboo term through a much more acceptable word and thus removed the objectionable characteristics. The “new” ax is normally a variation of the original, formed by misspelling (mispronunciation) or rearrangement w/o obliteration the the letters.