[ gol-ee ]
/ ˈgɒl i /

interjection Informal.

(used as a mild exclamation expressing surprise, wonder, puzzlement, pleasure, or the like.)

Nearby words

  1. goliathan,
  2. golilla,
  3. golliwog,
  4. golliwogg,
  5. gollop,
  6. gollywobbler,
  7. golosh,
  8. goloshes,
  9. golp,
  10. golschmann

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for golly

British Dictionary definitions for golly


/ (ˈɡɒlɪ) /


an exclamation of mild surprise or wonder

Word Origin for golly

C19: originally a euphemism for God

noun plural -lies

British informal short for golliwog

verb -lies, -lying or -lied

to spit

noun plural -lies

a gob of spit

Word Origin for golly

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