20 Phrases Like “Holy Cow”

The phrase “Holy cow” is simply an exclamation or expression of surprise. It is also used to express excitement about something.

The phrase is mostly used to avoid saying indecent words or using indecent language. Some religious tradition recognizes the holiness of cows, so using this phrase shows more decency when speaking.

It is a minced oath and as well based on the fact that cows are seen as sacred in some religions, for instance; Hinduism.

“Holy cow” is used to show that you see something as being surprising, impressive, or shocking. Back in the day, it was an unlawful act to use the phrase “Holy Christ” as a curse word, so instead the last part was changed to “Cow”.

It can also be an expression of regret, like when something bad happens and someone exclaims  “Oh god”, “Jesus Christ”, or “Yaa Allah”.

You can use the phrase to show astonishment or bewilderment. It is an idiomatic interjection as well as slang.

The phrase is like a sanitized version of saying something that was meant to be offensive.

You can expect someone to use this phrase after seeing an accident or someone they are not expecting or when they accidentally burn themselves with a hot pot.

Is saying “Holy Cow” offensive?

No. Saying “Holy cow” isn’t offensive and this is because the phrase is like a sanitized version of saying something that was meant to be offensive.

It is a mild expression but does not contain any vulgarity in it. It is appropriate in situations where cuss words or foul languages are not acceptable.

You can use it in situations where a word would sound unacceptable. “Holy cow” is less offensive as the word which is meant to be offensive has been substituted with “cow”.

Though, it could be offensive to Hindus because of their religious attachment to cows but other than that, it is mild.

“Holy cow” is a euphemism for “Holy Christ” which is blasphemy, so by saying “Holy cow” you’re simply using a milder phrase, and as such it sounds less offensive to others.

Instead of calling the name of the Lord in vain which is not acceptable, saying “Holy cow” fits better. The phrase “Holy cow” can be less offensive as the offensive word has been replaced with “Cow”.

Simply said, saying “Holy cow” seems less objectionable to other people since it is a gentler expression. It can be used in circumstances where a term would seem inappropriate.

20 phrases like “Holy Cow”

  1. Oh my gosh
  2. What the heck
  3. Holy sh*t
  4. Holy smoke
  5. Darn it
  6. For crying out loud
  7. Holy moley
  8. Till the cows come home
  9. Goodness me
  10. Holy hell
  11. Good gracious
  12. Good grief
  13. Holy crap
  14. Holy macaroni
  15. Don’t have a cow
  16. Fair cow
  17. Holy hell
  18. Holy cricket
  19. Holy mackerel
  20. Holy catfish

Oh my gosh

This phrase is similar to “Holy cow” as it shows an expression of surprise or excitement. It is a euphemism and a minced pronunciation of God.

This phrase is less offensive and softer to use than saying “Oh my God”. Even though “Oh my God” and “Oh my gosh” signify the same thing, the latter expression seems more appropriate.

The phrase “God” is used in a reasonable, courteous, and less offending manner. The phrase is most used by strong Christians who would not like to call the name of the Lord in vain.

A lot of religious people are not comfortable with the idea of using God’s name as a swear word. “Oh my God” is seen as a rude phrase by many people, because it shows that you’re using “god” in a casual way.

What the heck

Phrases Like Holy Cow

This is also a similar phrase that expresses surprise or frustration like “Holy cow”. It is an expression of annoyance or a way of adding emphasis to a statement.

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It is a phrase that is used to show that you do not care about the ad aspect of a situation. This phrase is a more polite way of saying “hell”. It is a euphemistic alteration or a substitution of the word “hell”.

It is used to avoid the actual swear word. It is also used when something absurd happens. Instead of using the strong invective swear word “hell”, the word “heck” sounds more polite.

Holy sh*t

This word is similar to “Holy cow” as it doesn’t only have the same word in it but it conveys the same meaning. It is used to show surprise, shock, or that something is impressive. It is also an expression of awe.

It is often used when something is seen for the first time or to show disbelief. It is a vulgar variant of the phrase “Holy cow”.  It is a swear word to show amazement at something.

Holy smoke

This expression is also like “Holy cow”. Not only does this phrase have the same word but they mean almost the same thing.

The phrase expresses excitement, surprise, or that someone is very pleased with something. It is simply a way of showing surprise and astonishment.

Not only does this expression include the same word, but their meanings are also quite similar. The expression conveys surprise, delight, or excitement over something.

It is only a method of expressing surprise and amazement.

Darn it

This is a similar cuss word to “Holy cow”. It is an exclamation that shows that you’re really annoyed at something. It can as well show surprise.

It is used to show emphasis as it is a more polite way of saying “damn it”. It is used as a mild swear word. It can be used when you want to sound less offensive.

The phrase “Holy cow” is comparable to this swear term. It is an exclamation that conveys your intense irritation. It is a less offensive way of saying “damn it,” hence it is used to emphasize points.

It is employed as a polite cuss. When you wish to seem less offensive, you can utilize it. It may also convey astonishment.

For crying out loud

This expression is used in showing impatience or irritation. It can as well be used to express anger or annoyance.

This is similar to the phrase “Holy cow” because it shows surprise. It is also used in showing emphasis on a certain thing.

It shows frustration and it is a minced phrase of “for Christ’s sake”.  This idiom is used to indicate impatience or annoyance.

It can also be used to convey displeasure or rage. The expression “Holy cow” is comparable to this one since it conveys surprise.

It can also be utilized to emphasize a certain point. It expresses annoyance as well.

Holy moley

Phrases Like Holy Cow

This phrase is also similar to “Holy cow” as not only does it have the same meaning, but it also has the same word “holy” in it.

“Holy moley” is used to express surprise or it is an exclamation of surprise. It is also a minced oath for “Holy Moses”.

“Holy moley” can be seen as a taboo phrase and so a more cleaned-up version was coined which is “Holy moley”. It sounds less offensive

It is an interjection slang used to express shock and to show something is impressive. This phrase and “Holy cow” both have a similar connotation.

The phrase “Holy moley” is an exclamation of astonishment or is used to indicate surprise. Additionally, it is a minced oath for “Holy Moses”.

Because the word “Holy moley” might be considered forbidden, the term “Holy moley” was created. It also has a less offensive tone.

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Till the cows come home

This expression means for a very long time. It could also mean for an indefinite time. The expression is mostly used to describe an event that is futile or unproductive.

It is an idiom that means for an indefinite amount of time. This expression has no similarity with “Holy cow” except that it has the word “cow” in the phrase.

This phrase denotes a very lengthy period. Additionally, it may imply indefinitely. The phrase is frequently used to denote a pointless or fruitless activity.

It is a figurative expression that denotes an endless period of time. The only resemblance between this expression and “Holy cow” is the presence of the word “cow” in the phrase.

Goodness me

Another idiomatic expression to show surprise is this one. Though, this phrase shows “mild surprise”. It also shows mild alarm and excitement.

It is like “Holy cow” because it shows shock or amazement. It is a mild exclamation, though an old-fashioned way of expressing surprise.

A hint of eagerness and worry is also there. It is comparable to saying “Holy cow” in that it conveys surprise or awe.

Although it is an archaic manner to show astonishment, it is a moderate exclamation.

Holy hell

Another minced oath like “Holy cow” is this one. It is an exclamation of horror. It also shows irritation. It also has the same initials as “Holy cow”.

It is a horrified exclamation. It also conveys annoyance or anger.

Good gracious

This is an exclamation of surprise or alarm. It is similar to holy cow because it is not considered vulgar as it alludes to the good or grace of God.

It can also be used to emphasize what is being said. it is also used sometimes to express annoyance at something.

It’s an old-fashioned way of showing your surprise to a person or something. It is comparable to holy cow in that it relates to the goodness or kindness of God, which makes it not vulgar.

In addition, it can be used to highlight a point being made.

Good grief

This is another similar expression as it also shows surprise. It is mostly used for negative emotions. “Good grief” is like saying “For goodness’ sake”.

These phrases are not offensive but are good ways of showing your annoyance at something. It was originally a minced oath and can be used to show shock or frustration.

It is frequently used to express a bad emotion. This expression is appropriate for expressing irritation about something and is not disrespectful. It was originally a minced oath and is used to express annoyance.

Holy crap

The expression is similar to “Holy cow” as it also has the word “holy” in it. It is an expression used in showing that something is unbelievable or that something is shocking.

The word “crap” is a little less vulgar but it’s not a swear word. It also shows amazement and it is similar to saying “holy cow”. It is mildly indecent to use and can also be seen as an idiomatic expression.

Holy macaroni

The expression is similar to “Holy cow” as it also has the word “holy” in it. It is another expression used in showing surprise.

Though this expression can be humorous, it is mostly used in place of swearing. It is also used in showing shock at a particular thing.

Due to the inclusion of the word “holy,” the term is comparable to “Holy cow.” Although it has a comic side, this term is typically used for profanity. It can also be used to express shock at a specific event.

Don’t have a cow

The expression is only similar to “Holy cow” because it has the word “cow” in it. It is an expression used to describe a situation where a person gets very angry or upset at something.

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To have a cow means to have a negative reaction toward a particular situation. If you tell someone not to have a cow, you’re simply telling the person to relax about something.

It is mostly used when a person is enraged such that their anger is out of control. It also means that the person shouldn’t get too excited.

The phrase is only comparable to “Holy cow” since it contains the word “cow”. It is a phrase used to describe a circumstance in which someone becomes extremely irritated over something.

Having a cow refers to having an adverse reaction to a specific circumstance. To urge someone to relax at something is the same as advising them not to have a cow.

It is typically employed when someone’s wrath is out of control due to rage.

Fair cow

This is another phrase having the word “cow” in it. The phrase means that something is very troublesome or exceedingly unpleasant.

It means something which is very irritating. It is slang that shows that something is discomforting or awful.

The expression denotes anything that is extremely bothersome or unpleasant. It refers to anything, particularly annoying.

Holy hell

“Holy hell” is an exclamation of horror. It is similar to “holy cow” as it expresses disbelief at something. It also shows shock or astonishment. It is an idiom that shows not only shock but also irritation.

Holy cricket

“Holy cricket” is slightly different as it can be used for both positive and negative situations. You can use this phrase to show an extreme form of surprise at something.

It can also be used during moments of sudden enlightenment. It is another similar expression to Holy cow as it is an exclamation to show surprise or astonishment.

Holy mackerel

What makes this phrase similar to “Holy cow” is that it is used to show that someone is very excited or pleased with another person or something.

It can also be used to show that a person is very surprised at something. This phrase is a euphemism for “Holy Mary.”

Mackerel was seen to be the nickname for Catholics and this is because Catholics do eat fish on Good Fridays. In other words, Mackerel is slang used in showing or expressing wonder at something.

You can use this phrase when you feel something is shocking or impressive. This phrase is another instance of taking the unacceptable or offensive words in a phrase and replacing it with something more acceptable or less offensive.

Holy catfish

This is an exclamation to show awe. This is just a similar phrase to express shock or surprise, just like “Holy cow.” It is also quite similar to “Holy Mackerel.”


The phrase “Holy cow” is an exclamation of surprise or shock. It is a minced oath to show excitement. This article has given 20 different phrases that are similar to “Holy cow”.

Most of these phrases are used in showing surprise or shock, some are swear words while others are idioms. You can use them whenever you want to express your surprise as they are less offensive.

The majority of these expressions are employed to convey surprise or shock; some of them contain profanity, while others are idiomatic expressions.

Some of these expressions are swearing words and they have either the “Holy” or “Cow” in them, though they may not have a similar meaning.

They are less insulting than other ways of expressing surprise, so you may use them anytime you choose.

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