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Holy Smoke! #123288
02/19/04 06:50 AM
02/19/04 06:50 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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gift horse  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
This weekend a rather inquisitive 8 year old asked me where the saying "holy smokes" came from. I didn't know. Just did a quick Google search & an AWAD search and still came up empty. I'm willing to bet someone here knows the answer to my little friend's question.

Thanks in advance!


Dawn


Re: Holy Smoke! #123289
02/19/04 07:24 AM
02/19/04 07:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,230
Te Ika a Maui
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Te Ika a Maui
<swag>Papal elections?</swag>


Re: Holy Smoke! #123290
02/19/04 09:19 AM
02/19/04 09:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Switzerland
wsieber Offline
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wsieber  Offline
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Switzerland

Re: Holy Smoke! #123291
02/19/04 11:04 AM
02/19/04 11:04 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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gift horse  Offline OP
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Austin, TX
This look backwards may provide some enlightenment

I must be missing something there. I didn't see anything about "holy smokes" specifically. Then again, I'm working on 2 hours of sleep.


Re: Holy Smoke! #123292
02/19/04 01:13 PM
02/19/04 01:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Switzerland
wsieber Offline
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wsieber  Offline
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Switzerland
I didn't claim a specific reference to smokes, but such euphemistic expletives tend to use rapidly varying "substrates", the concrete meaning being less important than the "emotional impact". Smoke has certainly scored high in this respect in recent times. Today I heard that Ireland has banned smoking from nearly all of public space. Mental asylums are one of the rare exceptions(!)


Re: Holy Smoke! #123293
02/19/04 01:50 PM
02/19/04 01:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
W
wwh Offline
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Holy smoke!, 1889; Holy cats!, Holy mackerel!, both 1803; Holy Moses!, 1906, Holy cow!, 1942." From “I Hear America Talking” by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).


Re: Holy Smoke! #123294
02/19/04 07:17 PM
02/19/04 07:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,788
Seattle, Washington, USA
Father Steve Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
One suspects a connection between this exclamation and the idea of using smoke as a form of prayer. In both Old Testament times and in the modern church, incense is used and its rising smoke is compared to prayers rising from Earth to the Almighty.

"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." (Psalm 141:2, Authorized Version)


Re: Holy Smoke! #123295
02/20/04 12:21 PM
02/20/04 12:21 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
M
maverick Offline
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> smoke as a form of prayer

I think it goes back further than the Christian era, to Greek civilisation at least ~ and doubtless many other sacrificial offering type cultures surely?


Re: Holy Smoke! #123296
02/20/04 01:52 PM
02/20/04 01:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 771
Portland, Oregon
Fiberbabe Offline
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Portland, Oregon
Buddhism too ~ lots of incense offerings involved in my temple experiences!


Re: Holy Smoke! #123297
02/20/04 05:57 PM
02/20/04 05:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 475
manchester uk
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Quinion has this http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-hol1.htm on holy smoke, I've never heard this phrase so I'm flying blind here, sorry. He doesn't add much to the posts previous tbh.

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