holy cow

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holy cow

1. what a surprise “I was paying 23 percent interest on that credit card.” “Holy cow!”
2. how wonderful "A friend of mine is in Hollywood filming a movie this month." "Holy cow, that must be so cool."
See also: cow, holy

holy cow

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."
See also: cow, holy
References in periodicals archive ?
Holy mackerel, I hear you say, can this really be true?
He caught it from his own boat, Holy Mackerel, while out with a friend at a reef off Poole, near their Dorset homes.
I'm talking about the holy mackerel - the giant bluefin, the goliath of our ocean game fish.
Tryska, a Bournemouth painter and decorator, is a caring put-'em-back-alive sea angler and once needed only three hours to catch and release 40 hard-fighting bream on a local trip in his own boat, Holy Mackerel.
His fish was the best of 40 caught and returned on a local outing in his own boat, Holy Mackerel.
Jan Tryska, a Bournemouth painter and decorator, needed only three hours to catch and return 40 hard-fighting black bream on a local trip in his private boat, Holy Mackerel.