Cassidese Glossary – Holy Moly

For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.

This is another strange and deeply unlikely etymology proposed by Daniel Cassidy in his book How The Irish Invented Slang. This is clearly another minced oath (a disguised curse or blasphemy). In this case, it is almost certainly a corruption of Holy Mary. This has become Holy Molly (a common form of Mary in Ireland) and then it has been altered to rhyme with holy, so that it became Holy Moly.

Cassidy denies this and claims that it comes from a mixed English and Irish phrase, Holy Moladh, where moladh means praise. There is no evidence of anyone ever using Moladh Naofa! or Moladh! or any other phrase with moladh in the Irish language as an exclamation, so there is absolutely no evidence for Cassidy’s claim here. The word moladh is pronounced molloo or molla, depending on dialect, so it is no great match for Moly in terms of sound either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.