Where Does The Expression “Holy Mackerel!” Come From?


It’s an expression of disbelief or surprise but what is the origin of the term “Holy Mackerel?”

Fish don’t normally wear halos and they don’t look like Swiss cheese either.

Funny how the words just sort of seem to roll right off the tongue.

It means the same as “Holy Cow!” or “Holy Smokes!” or even “Holy Moly!” but why fish?

One internet explanation states that it dates back at least two centuries by referring to the Catholic custom of eating fish on Fridays.

Another source suggests it’s a euphemism for Holy Mary in order not to take the Madonna’s name, Mary Magdalene, in vain.

I’m convinced that it has religious overtones. Speaking of vanity, I knew someone who always said “Cheese and crackers!” at times so Mackerel makes sense in that regard.


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One Response to “Where Does The Expression “Holy Mackerel!” Come From?”

  1. Moose and Michelle Says:

    Haha, I went through a phase of saying “cheese and crackers” (wait, I don’t know you, right?) It all started from a joke my grandfather told me in which “cheese and crackers got all muddy” was the pun-ch line.

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