The expression “holy moly” or “holy moley” is an informal exclamation used to express surprise, astonishment, or amazement. The origin of the phrase is not entirely clear, but it is believed to be a minced oath, a term that has been modified to avoid using profanity or taking the name of a deity in vain.
One theory suggests that “holy moly” originated as a variation of the phrase “holy Moses,” which was itself a minced oath for “holy Christ.” The use of “moly” instead of “Moses” may have been influenced by a legendary plant in Greek mythology called “moly,” which was believed to have magical powers and could protect against enchantments.
Another theory suggests that “holy moly” may have originated in the 1920s or 1930s as a catchphrase used by baseball broadcaster and comedian Waite Hoyt. Hoyt was known for his colorful language and often used the phrase during his broadcasts.
Regardless of its origin, “holy moly” has become a common expression in English vernacular and is often used to convey a sense of surprise, disbelief, or excitement.