Why Do People Say 'Holy Cow'?
It seems seems quaint. These days to express astonishment with a wholesome phrase like holy cow. It's so common that we've probably all said at some point. Maybe as kids. And if your sports fan of a certain age you may even associated with baseball announcer Phil Rizzuto or Harry Carey Carey delivered particularly clearly memorable holy cow in his broadcasts so much so that comedian will ferrell often period carry on Saturday night. Live some some people even thought that resute oh or carry might have originated the phrase they were both in the booth in the early days of holy cow but not quite early enough. Russillo began announcing after his playing days. Were over his first season as announcer for the New York. Yankees was in nineteen fifty seven carries announcing career began in the minor leagues in Nineteen Forty. Three and he moved up to the majors in nineteen forty five but holy cow dates from before that. It's what's known as as a minced oath which is when you substitute a kind of maybe similar ish sounding word for a taboo word. That's why we have friggin thing. It and heck in this case cow is probably a stand in for Christ so the speaker wouldn't take the Lord's name in vain minced oaths have been around in the English language for hundreds of years the variations on the holy theme have been in use since the middle of the eighteen hundreds according to the Oxford English dictionary its this definition of holy includes its use as an expletive such as holy cow or Holy Mackerel the first instance listed for this variety of minced. Oath imprint comes in eighteen fifty-five with Holy Moses but what about holy cow specifically it does indeed have ties to baseball but back before Kerry and Rosetto where even born pitcher for the Sacramento Wolves. Thirteen was known as holy cow Peter's according to a report in the Sacramento Union that year. But not even auto holy cow. Peter's could claim to have invented the phrase since that same year the Lincoln Star in Nebraska. Bresca noted that player Manager Charlie Mullen said holy cow so as early as nineteen thirteen people were saying holy cow at least in Sacramento Sacramento California and Lincoln Nebraska. The thing is cows are famously held as holy in Hinduism. They're not gods and they're not not worshiped but cows are considered sacred these gentle beasts after all if more to humans than they take in the form of milk and its products like butter and cheese and manure which we can use as fertiliser. There were a few English language books on India and Hinduism around in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which coincides with the phrase popping up across America. It's unlikely that baseball players were directly referencing Hindu religious beliefs in creating their new minced oath. But it it is likely that holy cows were something Westerners knew about around that time. And if you're a baseball player who just struck out again and you're forbidden from swearing by elite. Holy cow might start to look like a pretty good substitute for what you'd really like to say.