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 (music), “The Preacher and the Slave”:
      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
    • 1989, Hal Holbrook as Hamilton Johnson, Fletch Lives, written by Leon Capetanos:
      They took advantage of her, these holy rollers. When she was at death's door, they preyed on her faith and her fear. When she was no longer able to make rational decisions, persuaded her to give away our land for that amusement park.
  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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