Holy cow (expression)
For other uses, see Holy cow.
The expression dates to at least 1905.
Its earliest known appearance was in a tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor: "A lover of the cow writes to this column to protest against a certain variety of Hindu oath having to do with the vain use of the name of the milk producer.
There is the profane exclamations, 'holy cow!'
and, 'By the stomach of the eternal cow!'"
From the Dictionary of American Slang (1960):
Usage and variations
Expressions such as "Holy buckets!
", "Holy underwear!
", etc. also employ a play-on-words, "holy" implying "riddled with holes".
Paul Beale, however, revised Eric Partridge's A Dictionary of Catch Phrases and cites a different origin:
The phrase "Holy cow!"
was used by baseball players at least as early as 1913 and probably much earlier.
It became associated with several American baseball broadcasters.
Harry Caray was the broadcaster for the St. (1945–1969), Louis CardinalsOakland Athletics (1970), Chicago White Sox (1971–1981), and Chicago Cubs (1982–1997), and he began using it early in his career in order to prevent himself from lapsing into vulgarity.
New York Yankees shortstop and announcer Phil Rizzuto was also well known for the phrase; when the Yankees honored him following his retirement, the ceremony included a real cow with a halo prop on its head.
The comic book series Common Grounds was based on the mini-comic Holey Crullers, named after its setting in a coffee and doughnut shop called Holey Crullers.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy cow (expression).