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Where Did the Saying Holy Cow Come from?

[Summary]Holy cow (expression) Sign on the side of the Chicago Varnish Company Building depicting Harry Caray, circa 1998 "Holy cow!" (and similar) is an exclamation of surprise used mostly in the United States, Canada, Australia and England. It is a min

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Holy cow (expression)

Sign on the side of the Chicago Varnish Company Building depicting Harry Caray, circa 1998

"Holy cow!" (and similar) is an exclamation of surprise used mostly in the United States, Canada, Australia and England. It is a minced oath or euphemism for "Holy Christ!" Holy Cow! dates to at least 1905.[1] The earliest known appearance of the phrase 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. These profane exclamations, "holy cow!" and, "By the stomach of the eternal cow!""[2] The phrase was used by baseball players at least as early as 1913[3] and probably much earlier.[1] The phrase appears to have been adopted as a means to avoid penalties for using obscene or indecent language and may have been based on a general awareness of the holiness of cows in some religious traditions.[1]

Holy cow (expression)

Sign on the side of the Chicago Varnish Company Building depicting Harry Caray, circa 1998

"Holy cow!" (and similar) is an exclamation of surprise used mostly in the United States, Canada, Australia and England. It is a minced oath or euphemism for "Holy Christ!" Holy Cow! dates to at least 1905.[1] The earliest known appearance of the phrase 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. These profane exclamations, "holy cow!" and, "By the stomach of the eternal cow!""[2] The phrase was used by baseball players at least as early as 1913[3] and probably much earlier.[1] The phrase appears to have been adopted as a means to avoid penalties for using obscene or indecent language and may have been based on a general awareness of the holiness of cows in some religious traditions.[1]

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