It appears in Max Shulman"s 1951 arsenal of stories, The plenty of Loves that Dobie Gillis:

"Holy Toledo!" claimed Petey reverently. He hurry his hands right into the raccoon coat and then his face. "Holy Toledo!" he recurring fifteen or twenty times.

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But online explanations that its beginning disagree, and also dictionary coverage of the expression is tough to find.


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It"s a humorous mock-swearword based on the taboo against blaspheming spiritual terms. There are thousands of variations top top the phrase, such together "Holy Guacamole!" and also "Holy Cow!" most of these are taken into consideration entirely non-offensive, through the exemption of the best-known version, "Holy Shit!," which intensifies the taboo by combine the religious modifier with the taboo against directly referring to the fruits of the bathroom.

In the campy 60"s tv version that Batman, his sidekick Robin was detailed for unlimited versions the the phrase (a habit briefly satirized in the 1997 movie "Batman and Robin").


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reply Apr 25 "14 in ~ 1:23
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What a funny question.

I could not uncover the origin, though the hypothesizing is amusing.

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Some suggestions:

came about because that the hefty concentration of churches situated on Collingwood Boulevard (Toledo, Ohio)Toledo, Spain is often called “the holy City of Toledo.”Holy mainly has always been a negative week for present business; old-time Vaudeville actors contended that any week in Toledo was holy Week. Toledoans Joe E. Brown and Danny cutting board popularized the term as they ended up being nationally recognized performers (? - This renders sense)

Another vibrant possibility originates from a previous policeman that joined the city police force in 1931. At that time, there was supposed agreement in between the police and also underworld safecrackers (also known as crate blowers and also nitromen). Safecrackers would certainly not it is in harassed if they would certainly refrain indigenous their activities in Toledo. Consequently, castle could finish a project in Detroit, Cleveland or elsewhere and then retreat to Toledo - the “Holy Land.”

Searching books, the earliest I come up v was a quote native 1936:

But in this prediction the manager was wrong, for virtually as he finished speaking a an excellent booming voice to be heard in the wings. "Holy Toledo, officer, ns don"t savvy her lingo..."

There space indeed divine cows (India) and also holy exhilaration (Bible). "Holy Smoke! as an expression came right into use ~1870s, followed by "Holy cow!" (~1915). Maybe out that reverence come religions, and because it operation so well, divine Toledo (that assonance) came into being.

Joe E. Brown began in the vaudeville circuits in 1902, so... It"s possible. Danny Thomas started touring in the "30s, therefore it"s less likely that he to be the very first to say it if it was in publish in the 30"s already.