moly

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holy cow

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy cow, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy cow, that's amazing news!
See also: cow, holy

holy moley

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy moley, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy moley, that's amazing news!
See also: holy, moley

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