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Re: Holy phrases!!

Posted by Miri barak on March 07, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Holy phrases!! posted by ESC on March 06, 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

: : : Thank you so much
: : : I always find your answers so helpful and also amusing
: : : Miri

: From the archives under "holy":

: "Holy smoke!, 1889; Holy cats!, Holy mackerel!, both 1803; Holy Moses!, 1906, Holy cow!, 1942." From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).

: : : From the Dictionary of American Slang :
: : : "Holy cow!" . . . Equiv. to "Holy cats!" both being euphemisms for "Holy Christ!" . . . Although this term is considered to be very popular among teenagers, no self-respecting, red-blooded teenager would dare use such a weak oath. It is, however, the common oath and popular exclam. put into the mouth of teenagers by all script writers, and is universally heard on radio, television, and in movies. It was first popularized by the "Corliss Archer" series of short stories, television programs, and movies, which attempted to show the humorous, homey side of teenage life.

: : : Paul Beale , however, in revising Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," cites a different origin:
: : : The orig. 'Captain Marvel' and 'Batman' oaths, 'holy (something harmless),' were in turn spoofed in later C20 by whatever seemed relevant to the situation: Nigel Rees, in "Very Interesting . . . But Stupid: Catchphrases from the World of Entertainment," 1980, instances holy flypaper!, holy cow!, holy felony!, holy geography!, holy schizophrenia! holy haberdashery!, etc., and adds, 'The prefix 'holy' to any exclamation was particularly the province of Batman and [his boy assistant] Robin, characters created by Bob Kane and featured in best-selling comic books for over thirty years before they were portrayed by Adam West and Burt Ward in the TV film series.'

Thank you for looking it up, it is very interesting.

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