Green’s Dictionary of Slang

holy...! excl.

used in various oaths, usu. in conjunction with a euph. for God or Jesus; popularized in non-religious uses by the 1960s Batman TV series, when Robin, the superhero’s sidekick, created a wide variety of excls. on the model of ‘holy [n. pl.], Batman!’.

In exclamations

holy bones!

[1900s] a mild excl.

holy catfish!

[1910s] a mild excl.

holy cats!

[20C+] a mild excl. of surprise, dismay, alarm.

holy cow!

[1910s+] (orig. US) an excl. of surprise or disappointment.

holy crap! [crap n.1 (2)]

[1930s+] (US) a general excl. of amazement, surprise, annoyance etc.

holy cripes! [cripes! excl.]

[20C+] a general excl. of surprise, alarm etc.

holy crow! (also jeezum-crow!)

[1960s+] (US) a phr. of amazement, surprise.

holy dooley! [? link to Larry Dooley n.]

[1940s+] (Aus.) a general expression of surprise.

holy fly! (also holy flyback! by the holy fly!)

[20C+] (Aus./Irish) a mild oath.

holy frost!

[19C] (Aus.) a general oath.

holy fuck! [fuck! excl.]

1. [1940s+] (orig. US) a general excl. used to express surprise, astonishment.

2. [2010s] (US) used attrib. to imply remarkableness.

holy gee! (also holy chee! ...G! ...gees! ...ginger! ...jeez! hully chee! ...gee! ...jee! by the hully gee!)

[mid-19C+] a mild excl. of surprise, dismay, alarm.

holy guacamole!

[2010s] an excl. of astonishment.

holy hailstones!

[1960s] (US) an excl. of astonishment.

holy hell! (also holy biddy! ...Egypt! ...hokey! ...horror! ...J! ...Jack the Ripper! ...snakes!)

[mid-19C+] a mild excl. of surprise, dismay, alarm.

holy James Street! (also Holy James’s Street and Jacobs!) [James Street, Dublin, site of the Guinness brewery, and Jacobs Biscuit factory]

[20C+] (Irish) a general excl.

holy Joe!

see separate entry.

holy jumped-up Jesus! (also holy Creeping Jesus! holy hopping Jesus! holy jumped-up be-jeebers! holy jumped-up Jehosophat! holy sneaking Jesus!)

[1910s–50s] a general excl.

holy jumping...!

see separate entry.

holy mackerel!

see separate entry.

holy mackinaw!

[1900s–70s] (US) a mild excl.

holy moly! (also holy moley!) [var. on holy Moses under holy adj. The catchphrase favoured by the comic-book character Captain Marvel]

[1920s+] (orig. US juv.) a general excl. of amazement or shock.

holy monkey!

[1950s] an excl. of surprise, disbelief.

holy Moses! (also by the Moses! holy Mike! holy Moe! holy sneaking Moses! )

[mid-19C+] a general excl. of amazement or shock.

holy Peoria! [Peoria, Illinois]

[1960s] an excl. of surprise.

holy pretzel!

[1960s] (US campus) an excl. of surprise.

holy shit! (also holy piss! holy shit on a shamrock!) [shit n. (1a)]

[1960s+] a general excl. of surprise or astonishment.

holy smoke!

see separate entry.

holy toads!

[1900s] (US) a general excl.

holy wars!

[1900s–10s] a general excl.