- (used as a mild exclamation expressing surprise, wonder, puzzlement, pleasure, or the like.)
Origin of golly
First recorded in 1840–50; euphemistic alteration of God
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for golly
By golly, we'll stake her to a hay knife and tell her to go after him!
By golly, he's callin' all his wife's relations t' come an' help 'em out.
An' they know it, too, by golly, er they wouldn't hang back like they're a-doin'.
Golly, I want to be a Thorgunner and get in on the mop-up when it comes!Be It Ever Thus
Robert Moore Williams
The doctor drew a deep breath and then said, "By golly, I believe you've got it."The Innocence of Father Brown
G. K. Chesterton
- an exclamation of mild surprise or wonder
C19: originally a euphemism for God
- British informal short for golliwog
- to spit
- a gob of spit
C20: altered from gollion a gob of phlegm, probably of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for golly
euphemism for God, first recorded 1775, in a source that refers to it as "a sort of jolly kind of oath, or asseveration much in use among our carters, & the lowest people."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper