Yesterday we were asked if “golly” as an exclamation was racist. The answer is no – this has nothing whatsoever to do with golliwogs. “Golly” is one of those old-fashioned ways of saying God without actually saying God. It was first recorded in the late 18th Century as a mild euphemistic swearword for those who didn’t dare blaspheme. Variations include “golly gee”, “golly gosh”, “golly bum” and “golly gumdrops” – our personal favourite.

As a postscript, we’ve been told that “golly” is Australian slang for spitting, particularly spitting up phlegm.


Leave a Reply