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See more synonyms for golly on Thesaurus.com
interjection Informal.
  1. (used as a mild exclamation expressing surprise, wonder, puzzlement, pleasure, or the like.)
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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

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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."

British Dictionary definitions for golly


  1. an exclamation of mild surprise or wonder
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Word Origin

C19: originally a euphemism for God


noun plural -lies
  1. British informal short for golliwog
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verb -lies, -lying or -lied
  1. to spit
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noun plural -lies
  1. a gob of spit
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Word Origin

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper