What Does Oh My Stars and Garters Mean?

Oh My Stars and Garters Meaning

Definition: Oh my Goodness!

This phrase is used to express excitement or surprise. It is usually used in a lighthearted, jocular way.

Origin of Oh My Stars and Garters

Most people think of garter as an article of clothing that people wear to hold up their stockings or socks. However, garter is also the name of a badge worn by members of the Order of the Garter.

This type of garter is the highest award that a king or queen of England can give a knight. Other royal awards are in the shape of a star. Therefore, stars and garters refers to royal honors and awards.

The Order of the Garter began in the year 1311, in England. Over time, people used stars and garters to refer to royal medals in general, and then to any high honors. By the 1800s, people had begun using it as the interjection as we know it today.

Examples of Oh My Stars and Garters

define my starts and garters In this example, one friend gives another shocking news.

Neha: I’m glad you finally decided to come visit me. I miss you so much since you accepted that job all the way across the country.

Tyrese: Really? Then I guess this information will come as good news. I accepted a new job back here. I’m back in town permanently!

Neha: Oh my stars and garters! Are you serious? That’s amazing!

stars and garters meaning In this example, two office workers are discussing the problem one of them is having at work.

Barry: Hey, Rachel. I need your advice.

Rachel: Sure. What is it?

Barry: You know that Cary has been acting more and more strangely, right? Well, last night I came back in after hours to get my cell phone because I had forgotten it. Anyway, Cary was sitting on the office floor shaving his head. I watched him for a moment because I was so shocked. Then he fell asleep under his desk.

Rachel: Oh my stars and garters! I hope there is a reasonable explanation, but it sounds like he needs some help.

More Examples

This expression is not a common exclamation even in conversational English, and it is even more rare in news media. However, variations can be found in the two examples below.

This excerpt uses stars and garters in order to say that a comic company is starting a publicity campaign for a new comic.

  • Marvel is getting ready to roll out its stars and garters for its All-American USAvengers comic, and one major way it’s been doing it is by putting out a ridiculous amount of variant covers for issue one—one for each state, and then some. –Gizmodo

This excerpt is about a candidate for president of the country who supported abortion, which likely shocked many people. However, the article author doesn’t believe this should shock people in modern times. Therefore, he uses the idiom sarcastically to express that opinion.

  • She gave full-throated support to tax increases on the rich, tuition-free community college, gun control, immigration reform, strengthening the safety net instead of cutting it, and, oh my stars and garters, she didn’t even flinch away from late-term abortions. –The Daily Banter


The saying oh my stars and garters is an exclamtion that people use as a lighthearted way to say oh my goodness, oh my gosh, etc. It can express either a positive or negative surprise.