You may have heard this word uttered multiple times on TV by the Australian crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, as he wrestled with a deadly animal. But “crikey” is actually a British word, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as an exclamation to express irritation, dismay or surprise.

Furthermore, the word is used as a substitute for “Christ,” the dictionary says. As a euphemism, “crikey” is considered to be less offensive and disturbing than taking the Lord’s name in vain.

On one Web site,, “crikey” is not the only word related to Jesus Christ. “Criminy,” “cripes,” “jeepers creepers” and “gee whiz” do as well.

These words and many others help people avoid speaking explicitly, the site says.

Crikey is also the name of an independent Australian news and gossip service that can be subscribed to on the Internet.

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