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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
  • Very little was said, after Emily, interrupted by frequent “ohs!”

    Jessie Carlton Francis Forrester
  • No one was allowed to see that room until all had assembled, but when the doors were opened, there were ahs and ohs from everyone.

    Polly in New York Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • ohs and ahs punctuated the air, women being the same in every land.

    Black Man's Burden Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • In answer to Vulcan's triumphant summons all the Olympians defiled before the lovers with ohs and ahs of stupefaction and gaiety.

  • There were no false starts, no "ohs" of regret and appeal, no questions of quantity.

    The Main Chance Meredith Nicholson
  • This account of his experiences, which I obtained from him during the evening, took many divergences into the “ohs!”

    The Land of Thor J. Ross Browne
  • Besides, it must be confessed, it was sweet to hear Janet's "ohs!"

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

    I Married a Ranger Dama Margaret Smith
  • From all over the Opera House you could have heard delighted "ohs!"

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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