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"Doh!" Officially Enters the English Lexicon

By cp in News
Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:36:55 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

In its most recent quarterly update, the Oxford English Dictionary Online has officially recognized the exclamation "doh!" popularized by Homer Simpson. Though the dictionary is only viewable by subscription, readers without institutional or other access can rest assured that the self-titled "world's leading authority on the history and development of the English language since 1150" has in its dotage apparently taken to watching the Simpsons.

Note: for the comfort of others, please refrain from uttering tired clichés such as "Worst [word] ever!" for the duration of this article. Anyone failing to comply will be escorted out and shot.


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"Doh!" Officially Enters the English Lexicon | 40 comments (40 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
tired phrases... (3.20 / 5) (#1)
by pb on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:05:34 AM EST

Do I hear a "Doh!", anyone?
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
congrats (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by cp on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:33:07 AM EST

By posting at the same exact moment in time (down to the second) as Xeriar did, perhaps the first time it's ever happened, you've umasked a comment-sorting bug. (Sorting "newest first" placed #1 above #2).

[ Parent ]
So when... (3.14 / 7) (#2)
by Xeriar on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:05:34 AM EST

Is the English Language going to reach the one million word mark?
Or has it already?

When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
Halfway there (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by chrisbolt on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:09:29 AM EST

According to their online tour, the OED provides authoritative definitions of over 500,000 words.

<panner> When making backups, take a lesson from rusty: it doesn't matter if you make them, only that you _think_ you made them.
[ Parent ]
The OED... (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by Xeriar on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:23:29 AM EST

The OED doesn't count the various official scientific words (which number close to 400,000 IIRC).

When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]
Proper Spelling (4.27 / 11) (#3)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:06:52 AM EST

In the actual "Simpsons" scripts, the spelling "doh!" is never used. It is instead written as "annoyed grunt".
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
And the pronunciation? (3.20 / 5) (#5)
by MoxFulder on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:14:45 AM EST

In the actual "Simpsons" scripts, the spelling "doh!" is never used. It is instead written as "annoyed grunt".

That's really quite interesting ... who decided how "annoyed grunt" would be pronounced by Homer Simpson?

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes

[ Parent ]
Re: And the pronunciation? (4.42 / 7) (#9)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:36:59 AM EST

Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer, came up with that pronunciation. Supposedly, he first came up with a much lengthier version. More of a D'ooooow. (I think it's probably the same noise you hear Homer make occasionally when he's more disappointed than annoyed.) Then Matt Groening asked him to make it shorter and we got the clipped exclamation we're all familiar with today. Of course, that's all hearsay.

[ Parent ]
What OED says... (3.50 / 4) (#12)
by rwg on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:03:51 AM EST

As quoted in the OED Online (high-priced subscription sadly required for access) etymology for "doh":

1998 Daily Variety (Nexis) 28 Apr., The D'oh came from character actor James Finlayson's ``Do-o-o-o'' in Laurel & Hardy pictures. You can tell it was intended as a euphemism for ``Damn''. I just speeded it up.
That is as Dan Castellaneta describes it. OED goes on to mention "doh" is written as "annoyed grunt" in the official scripts.

[ Parent ]
Re: Proper Spelling (4.00 / 5) (#7)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:30:49 AM EST

As referenced in the episode title ``Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious''

[ Parent ]
alternate spelling... (3.00 / 4) (#10)
by YelM3 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:30:50 AM EST

I've always written it as D'oh.

[ Parent ]
d, aoh! (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by tarpan on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:38:26 AM EST

I kinda like the d, aoh! form... which is my own intepretion.

<Spoiler (if you've not seen the old episode)>
Take from when Burns hired actors to play the Simpson family in the episode where Bart become his heir. The actor playing Homer said the doh! slow and a bit obscure, and that sounds like d, aoh! or atleast sort of :)

[ Parent ]
Expansiveness of the OED (3.77 / 9) (#6)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:26:45 AM EST

People have complained for quite some time that the OED is not a definitive source for the English language anymore (if it ever was), but, rather, simply a snapshot of all of the words that have ever been used on anything approaching a regular basis. Even words roundly considered non-words (orientate being a good example). While the dictionary is a good reference for finding the definition of any word, and usually for a good demonstrative etymology, it's hardly what you should rely upon to define what words you should use. I mean, it still includes words with thorns(þ) and eths(ð) in them.

"Even words roundly considered non-words" (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by Vermifax on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:39:37 AM EST


Do you realize how contradictory that statement is? If a word is understood by 9 out 10 people in a room that is good enough for me 'irregardless' of what so called language experts believe.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

Language as an impediment to understanding (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:25:13 AM EST

Let's use your example. Assume for a minute that someone knows what ``regardless'' means, but has never heard the word ``irregardless'' before. This seems not unlikely for someone who learned English as a second language in school. Suddenly someone uses the word ``irregardless'' in front of them. The only assumption that they can make is that it means the opposite of regardless, which is, most likely, not what the speaker intended. (In reality, I understand your point, if disagree, but that was a bad example to use.)

Personally, I prefer my language to be understandable by 10 out of 10 people. I have no desire to exclude anyone. But I guess that makes me a language minimalist and you not one. But to each his own.

Also, I understand how oxymoronic that statement was, but it seemed overly loquacious to say ``pronounceable collections of letters roundly considered non-words''. Perhaps I could have used quotes. Regardless, I believe that it is in the best interests of practitioners of all languages to understand the basic rules before they go off breaking them. Breaking rules without knowing that you're breaking them results only in confusion.

[ Parent ]

Not even. (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by Vermifax on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:33:22 PM EST

"The only assumption that they can make is that it means the opposite of regardless,"

There are plenty of words that outright contradict their meanings if you were to break them down into their component pieces. Is flammable the opposite of inflammable? What about your poor 'English as a second language' person here.

There are also words that have unnecessary prefixes such as debone and unravel. English has plenty of words that are considered 'correct usage' which break any number of rules. The only silly thing is getting pedantic about single instances.

- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

flammable vs. inflammable (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:16:08 PM EST

I knew you'd bring that up. Unfortunately, since ``inflammable'' is derived from Latin, which included the ``in'' ``prefix'', that's the orginal version of the word. ``Inflammable'' is actually a much older English word than ``flammable'', which is really probably just a back-construction, like the horrendous ``alum'' instead of ``alumnus'' or ``alumna''. In this case, unfortunately, the listener would have to have been taught that these are exceptions. But ``flammable'' has been an exception for well over 200 years, whereas, for example, ``irregardless'' hasn't, and is not universally defined.

My point is that you can use incorrect or nonstandard words all you want. You just can't expect everyone to understand them, in the same way that I can't expect my mother to understand ``You need to frob that switch.'' In addition, while the usage of vernacular or jargon within your own group can easily make your language more concise, there is no place where ``orientate'' is more useful than ``orient.'' Again, though, you can continue to use whatever words you want. And there are certainly valid arguments for the continuing expansion of the English language. I'm not saying that you're wrong. I'm just saying that I'm not wrong, either.

[ Parent ]

I know just how the two words were derived. (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by Vermifax on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:23:05 PM EST

However, if your 'english as a second language' guy has to go look up inflammable in the dictionary to figure that out, then he can look up irregardless as well.

I have no problem with your wanting correct usage of the language to be used in so far as there is a 'correct' usaage. What I am saying is the statement 'X is not a word' is a false statement if the word is in use in the language proper or improper.

- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

Now I use a bad example (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:44:54 PM EST

Despite my previous assertion to the contrary, ``irregardless'' has become fairly well established, and, you're correct, able to be looked up in an everyday dictionary. (Unfortunately, in my opinion, but that's, as you point out, not your point.) But other, more recent additions or incorrect usages may not be in any dictionary. Obviously, in a conversation, such words can be explained. But in printed matter, they should be avoided, because they can't be explained by the ``speaker''. But I'm arguing the wrong point again.

Also, I didn't say that they weren't words, rather that they were nonwords, which Merriam-Webster (sorry — don't have my OED handy :-) defines as ``a word that has no meaning, is not known to exist, or is disapproved''.

[ Parent ]

10 out of 10 (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by a humble lich on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:36:45 PM EST

In that case you may wish to refrain from using word such as oxymoronic and loquacios.

[ Parent ]
25-cent words (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:18:24 PM EST

I do, actually, have a bias against people who are both ill-educated and can't use reference materials :-)

Really, though, I was being funny. Not very much so, apparently.

[ Parent ]

I'm not sure I know any words that can be... (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 12:53:44 PM EST

...understood by 10 out of 10 people. Even 'Big Mac' and 'Coca Cola' won't be understood by everyone in the world.
[ Parent ]
Enters the English lexicon... (3.40 / 10) (#8)
by spacejack on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:34:54 AM EST

just as it exits the pop lexicon. Ain't it always the way.

here goes... (5.00 / 14) (#11)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:00:49 AM EST

doh, int.

Forms: 19- d'oh, doh. [Imitative. Cf. OH int., DUH int.

Popularized by the American actor Dan Castellaneta who provides the voice for the character Homer Simpson in the U.S. cartoon series The Simpsons. The quotation below is his own description of its origin:

1998 Daily Variety (Nexis) 28 Apr., The D'oh came from character actor James Finlayson's ``Do-o-o-o'' in Laurel & Hardy pictures. You can tell it was intended as a euphemism for ``Damn''. I just speeded it up.
Although the word appears (in the form D'oh) in numerous publications based on The Simpsons, the scripts themselves simply specify annoyed grunt (as did the very earliest). Unofficial transcripts of the programme suggest the first spoken use was in a short episode, Punching Bag, broadcast on 27 Nov. 1988 as part of The Tracey Ullman Show. Its earliest occurrence in the full-length series was in the first episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, broadcast on 17 Dec. 1989.]

Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish. Also (usu. mildly derog.): implying that another person has said or done something foolish (cf. DUH int.).

1952 A. BUCKERIDGE Jennings & Darbishire ixii. 183 `Doh!' An anguished gasp of exasperation rang out loud and clear as Mr Wilkins found his voice again. 1989 Beano 11 Feb. 23 (caption) [Speaker is a man who is knocked against a bus stop.] Doh! 1991 Chicago Tribune (Nexis) 15 Nov. (Friday) H, `The movie had one good point: It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen.' `It was the worst movie I've ever seen.' `Doh!' 1993 HP Professional (Nexis) July 28 Along their long path ISO sort of missed local area networks and network management, which gave the market over to TCP/IP and related technologies. As Homer Simpson would say: `Doh!' 1996 A. FEIN et al. Simpsons Comics strike Back! 14/2 `Look out, you dern fool! You're gonna cut off your...' `D'oh!!!' 1998 N. JONES Hollyoaks (Mersey TV transmission script) Episode 256 44 Cindy: What are we doing here, anyway? Paul: Doh! Use your head, eh?


On the subject of dictionaries (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 08:06:19 AM EST

and this is almost completely off topic, because it's actually about your sig:

Occasional has two c's and one s. Not the other way round.

I figure a linguist's at least got to get his spelling right.

[ Parent ]

YHBT (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by wiredog on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:03:15 AM EST

Ocassional Troll

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
In that case, OUCH. NFM. (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:11:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
eh... (1.00 / 1) (#24)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:22:07 PM EST

I figure a linguist's at least got to get his spelling right.

Te puedes ir al carajo. ¿Te tengo cara de dios o papa, que tengo que ser infalible?

Ah, y en el camino te puedes llevar contigo la mierda esa de ortografía del idioma tuyo.

[ Parent ]

Hijo del puta, (1.00 / 2) (#32)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 04:46:15 PM EST

no esto yorando. Mis cojones son enormes. ¿Dónde hay un buen restaurante? Quisiera reservar una mesa para dos.

Sesamestreet es bueeeeno.

[ Parent ]

Doh! (none / 0) (#38)
by h8cpus on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 02:51:16 AM EST

Homer's Doh! is pretty good but Finlayson's Doh! is the best. Check it out in Laurel & Hardy's Men O' War. Linux!

[ Parent ]
Disco? (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by Signal 11 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:24:43 AM EST

These guys confused dance/techno with disco. I have lost all respect for the oxford dictionary.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
In europe they frequently mean the same thing (none / 0) (#40)
by JumpSuit Boy on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 12:39:37 AM EST

I had a classmate for Spain last year who explanied it to Goth friend of mine. In Spain when one goes to the disco (dance club) one dances to what those of us in the US call techno.
The Director disavows any knowledge of the preceding comment.
[ Parent ]
History of the OED (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by Skeevy on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:12:41 AM EST

Anyone interested in the making of the Oxford English Dictionary should read The Professor and the Madman, which is about an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane who contributed more than ten thousand entries. That's almost 2% of the entire dictionary, according to this post.

D'oh (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by MrAcheson on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:38:17 AM EST

Well I guess the Simpsons pulled a Homer...

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

Do not be alarmed (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by eean on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:03:30 PM EST

We have a copy of the dictionary from the 1930s (published in the 1970s, why would they do that?) at our school and I it is fun looking through it at all the "English" words. Really the OED trys to have every word that one will ever encounter anywhere in the English Language, even if it is an obsurce 800 year old manuscript.

So, just because Doh has entered the OED doesn't really give it any more status. I wish I could think of some of odd words I've found in there, but I can't, so just pretend I did.

OED history (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by wfaulk on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:00:46 PM EST

There have only ever been two final editions of the OED. The first version was published in fascicles. This works started in 1879 and did not publish the final fascicle until 1928. The next version was not published until 1989. The next version is expected to be published around 2010.

And as I said elsewhere, it includes words with ashs (æ), eths (ð), thorns (þ), and yoghs (which there's no HTML character entity for, but which looks like a stylized 3), so it can't expect people to use those words.

[ Parent ]

All your Doh! (2.00 / 3) (#34)
by DrEvil on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:59:43 PM EST

And in related news, the ever popular saying "All your base are belong to us." is now considered proper grammer.

A man who calls himself Cats, a major proponet in the "new grammar" said in reference to this exciting news. "How are you gentlemen!!!, in this age it are now time for new grammar. We must make our time, old grammar has no chance to survive. Ha ha ha ha!!!!"

A man who goes by Captain said in response to Cats' argument "What you say??? Main screen turn on." where he then started showing why this new grammar is a bad idea on a large television screen.

All in all this day are belong to us!!

What about "aint", "alot" etc. (3.75 / 4) (#35)
by greggman on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 05:36:20 AM EST

If you check a 20 year old dictionary you'll find that "input" and "output" were not considered verbs. In other words "I input some text into the computer" was incorrect grammer.

Then, about 5 years later it was all of a sudden updated to a verb in all the dictionaries. If you look it up now you'll see the verb "input" and the verb "output".

So, what I want to know. How gets to decide what's okay and what's not? Why did around 1985 it get decided that "input" as a verb was okay but "aint" or "alot" are still marked as incorrect grammer even though those are in far more common use than "input".


Who determines the validity of words? (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by wfaulk on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:34:54 PM EST

In the case of the OED, I believe that they feel that their job is to document all even vaguely commonly used words, whether approved of or not. Just because it is put in the OED does not make it valid.

In the case of other dictionaries, their editors make editorial decisions about what words to include. They examine new usage found in published works (not usually spoken usage) and the editors will make what comes down to a personal decision about whether the word is worthy of being included. Hopefully, that person (probably a group of editors with a single person in charge) will make a decision based on commonality, grammatical and linguistic validity, and popular propagation. But those personal decisions are why different dictionaries have different words, and why they often disagree with each other.

So the probable reason for ``input'' and ``output'' as verbs (which I disagree with) is that they are technical jargon redistributed back into the base language. The reason for the exclusion of ``ain't'' is probably based largely on (not necessarily incorrect) editorial prejudice, probably based on the fact that it's considered poor usage by the majority of users. Many dictionaries operate in this manner. Others will include it and mark it as nonstandard. ``Alot'' is probably not included because it's a misspelling (either because it's missing an `l' or a space, depending on what you mean).

[ Parent ]

It's about class (none / 0) (#39)
by gampid on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:34:18 PM EST

I think the answer to your question, why input quickly became a valid verb and ain't and alot remain improper english can be answered by looking at class. The people who are developing computers and pushing technological development tend to be educated and middle or upper class. This means that they are a legitimizing force in our society. Other words like "ain't" are used by lower class people, the poor, white trash, blacks, and others who are not legitimate voices in our society.

Protest.Net: Seizing the means of communication!
[ Parent ]

"Doh!" Officially Enters the English Lexicon | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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