Ever wonder where the phrase “holy cow” came from? Maybe it was India, where cows are sacred and wander unmolested wherever they wish. Who knows – maybe an American tourist stepped out of the shower in Calcutta one morning and found one nosing around in his hotel bedroom.
“Holy Cow, where did you come from?”
Baseball fans, however, will insist that it originated with Cardinal announcer Harry Caray. Every time Stan Musial belted one over the fence, you could depend on Harry to bellow, “Holy cow, holy cow, it’s a home run!”
“Holy smoke,” on the other hand, probably originated at the Vatican, when a puff of smoke announced election of a new pope. Or maybe my grandson is right, and it really did start with Batman. “Holy smoke, Batman!”
“Holy Toledo” might have referred to a city in Spain, but it’s better known as the most-often repeated phrase uttered by Oakland Raider announcer Bill King. “Holy Toledo, it’s a touchdown!” He reportedly screamed “Holy Toledo” at least three times in 1970 when George Blanda kicked a 53-yard field goal in the last second of the game to beat the Cleveland Browns.
“Holy moley,” of course, is a 5-K run in Bedford, Ind., and “Holy Jumpin’ Jehosaphat” refers to a king of Judah. Biblical scholars are still trying to sort out just when and where he did his jumping.
Last but not least, “Holy mackerel” is often thought to have Catholic origins because of the fish-on-Friday tradition. But it is also a Florida beer, at least two rock bands and part of the chandelier in the Massachusetts Senate.
Holy mackerel, who knew?