Holy Roller

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the fact that devout Pentecostals would roll on the floor of the church as a sign of being possessed by the Holy Spirit.

Noun[edit]

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Holy Roller (plural Holy Rollers)

  1. (informal, usually derogatory) A member of any Christian church characterized by ecstatic behaviour; especially of the Pentecostal Church.
    I attended a worship service where I was astounded to see holy rollers convulsing on the floor and speaking in tongues.
    • 1911, Joe Hill, “The Preacher and the Slave” (song): 
      Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out / And they holler, they jump and they shout / Give your money to Jesus, they say / He will cure all diseases today
  2. (informal, pejorative) A devoutly religious Christian person.
    She's such a holy roller that she steers every conversation around to the joys of religion.

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