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Re: Holy moley

Posted by ESC on May 29, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Holy-moly posted by ESC on May 29, 2003

: : : could someone please tell me what holy-moly means and what moly is

: : holy cow
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: : 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.

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: : The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust
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Didn't find this the first time I searched since moly is spelled "moley."

The "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, has this entry: "moley n. (pop. As a characteristic exclamation of 'Captain Marvel,' hero of a series of comic books begun 1940, first written by C.C. Beck; perh. reflecting 'moly' 'magic herb in Greek mythology', in allusion to the invocation of mythological figures as a source of the character's powers; perh. euphem. and rhyming alt. of 'holy Moses.' In phrase: 'holy moley' (used as an exclamation of surprise). 1949 'Capt. Marvel Adventures, in Barrier & Williams 'Book of Comics' 87: Holey Moley! He got away."