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[oh] /oʊ/
(used as an expression of surprise, pain, disapprobation, etc.)
(used in direct address to attract the attention of the person spoken to):
Oh, John, will you take these books?
noun, plural oh's, ohs.
the exclamation “oh.”.
verb (used without object)
to utter or exclaim “oh.”.
Origin of oh
later spelling of O, from mid-16th century
Can be confused
O, oh, owe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ohs
Historical Examples
  • And the procession chanted something sad with plenty of ohs!

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Some of the girls gave little gasps of surprise, others, ohs!

    Peggy Stewart at School

    Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • Very little was said, after Emily, interrupted by frequent “ohs!”

    Jessie Carlton Francis Forrester
  • A chorus of “ohs,” and “ahs,” and “dear mammas,” went round the table.

    The Inglises Margaret Murray Robertson
  • ohs and ahs punctuated the air, women being the same in every land.

    Black Man's Burden Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • There were no false starts, no "ohs" of regret and appeal, no questions of quantity.

    The Main Chance Meredith Nicholson
  • The women knew this, and they uttered "ohs" and "ahs" of applause.

  • Besides, it must be confessed, it was sweet to hear Janet's "ohs!"

    The Rosie World Parker Fillmore
  • From all over the Opera House you could have heard delighted "ohs!"

  • The female population gathers to admire, and the equivalent to our ohs and ahs fills the air.

    I Married a Ranger Dama Margaret Smith
British Dictionary definitions for ohs




an exclamation expressive of surprise, pain, pleasure, etc
sentence connector
an expression used to preface a remark, gain time, etc: oh, I suppose so
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ohs


1530s, interjection expressing various emotions, a common Indo-European word (e.g. Old French ô;, oh; Latin o, oh; Greek o; Old Church Slavonic and Lithuanian o; Gothic, Dutch, German o; Old Irish a; Sanskrit a), but not found in Old English, which translated Latin oh with la or eala.

The present tendency is to restrict oh to places where it has a certain independence, & prefer o where it is proclitic or leans forward upon what follows .... [Fowler]
Often extended for emphasis, e.g. Oh, baby, stock saying from c.1918; oh, boy (1910); oh, yeah (1924). Reduplicated form oh-oh as an expression of alarm or dismay is attested from 1944. Oh-so "so very" (often sarcastic or ironic) is from 1922. Oh yeah? "really? Is that so?" attested from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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