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I have several theories

Posted by Word Camel on March 05, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Crude language posted by ESC on March 05, 2003

: : : : : I translate part of a movie (tomb raider) and I have to translate into Hebrew the expression "holy shit". that is why I want to understand the exact meaning of it and of course in the right context:
: : : : : It's when Lara gets a letter from her dead father and Bryce says: "Blimey" and Hillary says: "Holy shh..."

: : : : : To me it sounds like surprise, or amazement.
: : : : : Thank you

: : : : Yes, it is an expression of surprise and amazement. The news is shocking. But there is a comic element in my opinion. A person wouldn't say "Holy sh*t!" about something tragic. A similar expression would be "Wow!"

: : : "Blimey" is a very British expression of amazement. "Holy s***" is--I suspect but do not know--a very American expression of amazement. This may make a difference to your translation.

: : The British English equivalent of "holy shit" would probably be "bloody hell".

: : Choosing this particular expression of amazement in American English is probably meant to convey a certain coarseness or possibly street-wiseness in the the person speaking. This sort of street-wise banter has been considered increasingly more admirable since the 1950's because it gives the person speaking and air of authenticity. This is not necessarily a good thing in my opinion.

: : I have heard people of all classes in the UK swearing with gusto and panache. It's more wide spread than it is in the US - as I have discovered to my cost - but it is seldom crude and often used with an element of self mockery.

: I am away from my library but I'll do some research this evening on the evolution of "Holy sh*t!" I figure some people would find the "holy" as offensive as the "sh*t". Variations: Holy moly. Holy smokes. Holy crap.

I freely admit these are wild guesses - wild and crazy guesses, even...

1)A substitution for 'damned', as in the way some people shout "God bless it!" when they hammer their thumbs.

2) Far more whimsically, Robin of the caped crusaiders "Holy phrase origins, Batman!"

3)One product of the Holy cow