Holy moley!

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10 comments on this post.
  1. Ken Reynhout:

    My late uncle, William Woolfolk, was one of the behind-the-scenes original authors and creators of Captain Marvel. He told me that he invented the phrase “Holy Moley,” but did not mention how he came up with it. It even made it into his obituary: http://articles.latimes.com/2003/aug/10/local/me-woolfolk10

  2. Grandpa Chet Cox:

    Per C. C. Beck, Bill Parker did reference “the food of the gods,” and the first suggestions of the character – which was actually going to be a full team of heroes, each one with one of the powers of one of the ancient gods. Evidently, the editors of the time wanted to have only ONE hero (to compete with Superman) and Parker redesigned his original proposal.
    And then went back to what he considered “real writing” — Mechanix Illustrated.

    *jeep! & God Bless!

  3. Colin W:

    The last grand prior of the Knights Templar was named Jacques de Molay. Admittedly this sounds flaky, but is it possible that partisans of the order used holy moley to identify each other after he was burned at the stake and the order abolished?

  4. John Wolff:

    For fun, see Mad Magazine’s “Captain Marble.” His magic word was SHAZOOM. The only part I remember was the “OO” which was the strength of an ox and the strength of another ox. Also see Flesh Garden and others.

  5. Galen McKinley:

    With no proof I have read the the phrase originated from a Sikh festival called Hola Mohalla in which mock battles are held. The story goes tyhat under the Raj, British soldiers started using the phrase to indicate something extraordinary.

  6. Rob Dickinson:

    Many years ago, I heard that the expression began because of Molech, an Ammonite god in Canaan. King Solomon built a temple, in which was the Holy of Holies, where God presided over the Ark of the Covenant. However, over time, idolatry crept into the land, including the use of many idols attributed to Molech. God reprimanded them, and said, “Only I am holy…get rid of your idolatry.”

  7. James:

    The OED doesn’t define “holy moly,” but it does define “moly” quite exhaustively (I wasn’t sure whether Mr. Morris, by quoting only the OED’s definition of “moley,” meant to imply that it failed entirely to cover Homer’s plant as well as the expression under discussion).

    It also offers a number of examples of “holy [whatever]!” as an expletive, and gives their place of origin as the U.S.; I assume that the OED’s compilers were satisfied to list just a handful of illustrations, rather than to hunt down every variant (or even to privilege one variant over another), given the sheer size of ground they were trying to cover.

  8. Charlie Flynn:

    I remember from out of the past (I’m talking fifty or sixty years ago) a piece of rhyming drivel that would not (probably) pass today’s PC strictures. Thus:

    Holy Moly, King of the Jews
    Bought his wife a pair of shoes
    When the shoes began to wear,
    Holy Moly, did he swear.

  9. Lelde:

    Mauli–hindi for red theead Holy Mauli

  10. Lelde:

    Mauli : red threads used in Hindi ceremony

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