Holy Moly?

What’s the origin of this phrase?

I’ve done no research at all on this, but my ill-formed opinion is that it’s a corruption of ‘Holy Moses’, with the mild blasphemy taken out. Just a guess really.


It’s a reference to the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin. That was the early definition of one Mol.

Moly was the magic herb that Athena gave Odysseus to protect him from the magic of Circe. It had white flowers and a black root. It was “holy” because it came from a goddess.

Ahh, kids today.
I believe that the expression was created for the comic book Captain Marvel by C.C. Beck and company. It was newsboy Billy Batston’s mild oath. CM also gave us “Shazam!” as an expression. It was the magic word that Billy used to turn into Captain Marvel. Each letter stood for a different character from Greek mythology from whem Billy got his powers (I don’t recall the list, and I’m too lazy to Google it).

As someone once pointed out in Steranko’s History of Comics (and as noted above), moley a (possibly hallucinogenic) herb, so you gotta wonder about the expression.

…but the ‘Six Great Elders’: Solomon - wisdom, Hercules - strength, Atlas - stamina, Zeus - power, Achilles - Courage, and Mercury - speed.

From This site.

I guess you’re all correct.