Holy cow / sacred cow

Posted by Paul Guthrie on October 18, 2001

In Reply to: Holy cow posted by chris on October 18, 2001

: does anyone know where the saying "holy cow" originated? and why?

(A different meaning than the interjectory 'holy cow!')

'Holy cow' appears to be quite often used interchangeably with 'sacred cow'.

E.g. a couple of online quotes found on the internet.

Thus, science is turned into a "holy cow" that gives way, paradoxically, to a new religion: scientism.

Contrary to what Taylor claims, the law of excluded middle is not the holy cow of philosophy.

From Merriam-Webster online Collegiate dictionary:
Main Entry: sacred cow
Etymology: from the veneration of the cow by Hindus
Date: 1910
Meaning: one that is often unreasonably immune from criticism or opposition

Of course it is easy to criticize that which we do not understand, and I would suspect that Hindus may find the term at least mildy offensive.