June 14, 2001 8:58 AM   Subscribe

"Doh!" added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Homer Simpson is the man.
posted by danwalker (44 comments total)
It's spelled "d'oh", not "doh". Damn brits. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 9:13 AM on June 14, 2001

Hey! I'm a Brit and I know it's "D'oh" and not "doh" so geddoutahere with yer xenophobia, dude. :)
posted by metaxa at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2001

I agree, jpoulos. Although, I don't know if it's ever been officially spelled or anything, has it? :)

In other news, The Simpsons are coming to DVD. About damn time!
posted by pnevares at 9:26 AM on June 14, 2001

d'oh? sounds/looks french. d'eau? has homer been asking for water all these years?
posted by heather at 9:37 AM on June 14, 2001


As the editor of a small alternative newspaper, I used to get into, uh, "lively discussions" (see also: barroom brawls) over the correct spelling of this particular Homerism.

I said: "Doh!"

They said: "D'oh!"

Turns out I was right all along. I *heart* the OED.

Now I can just say: "It's 'Doh!' Look it up!"
posted by fraying at 9:39 AM on June 14, 2001

so geddoutahere with yer xenophobia, dude

it's "zeenafobia", dude. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 9:39 AM on June 14, 2001

I'm sure that somewhere there's an officially licensed simpsons t-shirt where Homer says the word in question, which will provide a definitive answer. MeFi detective agency: the task is in your hands.
posted by jpoulos at 9:42 AM on June 14, 2001

I found this T-shirt on Ebay, D'oh
posted by emoeby at 9:50 AM on June 14, 2001

A transcript from a Matt Groening interview with Loaded magazine has this:

Very good.

"No, I mean Doh! really. That's my car; somebody is breaking into my car. [He leaves, and returns two minutes later] OK. Oh, er `Doh!', I wrote it in the script as `annoyed grunt', and that's how it's written in all the scripts."

I hope that's the writer taking liberties with the spelling, though, and not Groening's spelling. :(

On the other hand, one of those Cingular commercials had a D'OH! at the end, and it was spelled with the apostrophe. So I don't know.
posted by pnevares at 9:53 AM on June 14, 2001

Guess I was too late -- good work, emoeby.

I had a calender back in the day and it was spelled "d'oh".
posted by jragon at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2001

(homer's quote, not the calender as a whole) ;)
posted by jragon at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2001

in the chili cookoff episode, "d'oh!" appears as a puff of smoke after homer says it. (but the matt groening interview from loaded explains the titles of the "e-i-e-i-(annoyed grunt)" and "simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(annoyed grunt)cious" episodes.)
posted by jimw at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2001

I use the SNPP as my definitive research source, and trust them implicitly. It's "D'oh!" for me, never mind the OED.
posted by Skot at 10:13 AM on June 14, 2001

Does the apostrophe imply a contraction? If so, what letters are being left out?
posted by goto11 at 10:13 AM on June 14, 2001

Ah, Skot's link does it for me. Thanks.
posted by pnevares at 10:17 AM on June 14, 2001

In the Bongo line of various official Simpsons comics, initially created and overseen by Matt Groening himself, it is spelled "D'oh!" Maybe you could think of it as a contraction of "Duh!" and "Oh!"
posted by Ben Grimm at 10:21 AM on June 14, 2001

Is D'oh really a word? I would classify it more as a "cultural reference." Has the Simpsons and D'oh grunt become so common in general conversation beyond Simpsons fans that it warrants a place in the dictionary?

I am curious to know whether the OED now recognizes slang in their dictionary. It would seem to me that cultural references are more in the vein of slang than bonified words. I don't have a subscription to the OED. (so if anyone out there does, I'd be grateful if you could answer this for me)

**side note: Spellchecker.net doesn't recognize D'oh as a word

**other side note: it's definately D'oh in my books
posted by Ms Snit at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2001

This from SF Gate article:

Other new additions and updated definitions include "bad hair day," which caught the dictionary writers' attention after turning up in the novel "Bridget Jones's Diary," and "full monty," whose definition was expanded to include total nudity, thanks to the film about unemployed British steelworkers who turn to stripping.

Also added: "retail therapy," "serial monogamy" and "lifestyle drugs."

posted by JParker at 10:48 AM on June 14, 2001

yes !!! thank u pnevares for that simspons to DVD and not a moment too soon - rathers years too late
posted by monkeyJuice at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2001

The redefinition of "full monty" is one of those things that makes lexicography fun. (And it can't be that great being stuck in St Giles', with a letter-a-year schedule for the big OED, due out in 2010.) It always meant "dressed up properly" or even "overdressed" ("...wearing shirt, tie, the whole monty") though no-one could quite decide where that originated. And now, thanks to the film, it's taken to mean precisely the opposite.

Have a look at the monthly appeals page, if you get the chance. Find a pre-1997 source for "wife-beater" as an item of clothing, and it could end up in the book.

(A mate was asked to come up with citations so that "troll" -- as in, to troll MeFi with a provocative post -- will make it into the big revision. Hoorah for linguistic evolution.)
posted by holgate at 11:04 AM on June 14, 2001

My favorite comes from the Stampy the Elephant episode:

Homer: D'oh!

Lisa: A deer!

Marge: A female deer!

Can't wait to see what its word origin and usage looks like in the OED!
posted by debrahyde at 11:05 AM on June 14, 2001

I want to see this start showing up in literature. If only it was around for Steinbeck...

Awright, Tommy, but what do you figger you're gonna do?

You know what I been thinkin' about? About Casy. About what he said--what he done--about how he died. An' I remember all of it.

He was a good man.

I been thinkin' about us, too--about our people livin' like pigs an' good rich lan' layin' fallow; or maybe one guy with a million acres an' a hundred thousan' farmers starvin'; an' I been wonderin' if all our folks got together an' went "D'oh!"...

Oh, Tommy, they'd drive you out an' cut you down just like they done to Casy.

They'd drive me anyways. Soon or later they'd get me for one thing if not for another. Until then...

Tommy, you're not aimin'g to kill nobody!

D'oh! That ain't it. It's just--well, as long as I'm an outlaw anyways, maybe I can do sump'n. Maybe I can jus' fin'
out sump'n. Jus' scrouge aroun' an' maybe fin' out what it is
that's wrong--then see if they ain't sump'n can be done about it. D'oh! - I ain't thought it all out clear, Ma. I--I can't. I don't know enough.

Well, how'm I gonna know 'bout you, Tommy? Why, they could kill you an' I'd never know. They could hurt you. How'm I gonna know?

Well, maybe it's like Casy says--a fella ain't got a soul of his
own--just a little piece of a big soul--the one big soul that
belongs to ever'body. Then...

Then what, Tom?

Then it don't matter. I'll be all aroun' in the dark. I'll be
ever'where--wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there, I'll be in the way guys yell where there're mad--an' I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, an' livin' in the houses they built, I'll be there too.

D'oh, Tom.

D'oh, too, Ma, but jus' sump'n I've been thinkin' about. Gimme your han', Ma. Good-by.
posted by Perigee at 11:21 AM on June 14, 2001

Homer Simpson appears not to be the only man in this case. The entry cites some obscure 1952 source as the first written occurence in English. And they spelled it "doh" then. I won't link the online OED since you need an institutional subscription, I think. Yet, the editors went to what must have been a great deal of trouble to find pre-Simpsons references.
posted by rschram at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2001

"Pulling a Homer" diesn't seem to be in there.

Re: the appeals page, "mukluk" is a word that sounds dirty, but isn't. Heh heh, mukluk
posted by rschram at 11:36 AM on June 14, 2001

Hey, they left out the original dictionary definition:

Homer \noun1. American bonehead.
2. Pull a Homer -- to succeed despite idiocy.
posted by waxpancake at 11:43 AM on June 14, 2001

Nuts. Beat me to it.
posted by waxpancake at 11:43 AM on June 14, 2001

A friend of mine has the OED cd. Very cool. I wish the online subscription was less.

Their entry for the slang of my name has not enlightened me as to the "why."
d. (With lower-case initial.) A lavatory, water-closet. slang (chiefly

[1735 Harvard Laws in W. Bentinck-Smith Harvard Bk. (1953) 146 No freshman
shall mingo against the College wall or go into the fellows' cuzjohn.] 1932
Amer. Speech VII. 333 John, johnny, a lavatory. 1946 ‘J. Evans’ Halo in
Blood xvi. 181, I+made a brief visit to the john. 1959 C. MacInnes Absolute
Beginners 54 ‘You poor old bastard,’ I said to the Hoplite, as he sat there
on my john. 1972 Last Whole Earth Catalog (Portola Inst.) 247/3 Every time
you take a dump or a leak in a standard john, you flush five gallons of
water out with your piddle. 1973 Black World June 19 They gave me my Status
Symbol The key to the white Locked John.

posted by john at 11:50 AM on June 14, 2001

I have to steer back to ms snit's comment. As much as I enjoy the Simpsons, this really doesn't have enough justification for me to be included. To me, this speaks more about a product's planned obsolescence than anything else. What's next, "kewl" , "1337" , "HaX0r" ?
posted by machaus at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2001

Allow me to completely overanalyze this:

I've always (and, yes, I mean always--I've thought about this before) felt that the apostrophe really made the expression. The meaning of the "D'oh!" itself is reflected in its spelling. In my mind, the "D" is sort of going one way, then there's the abrupt "oh!" as Homer realizes he's being stupid again. In a way, the apostrophe itself is the "D'oh!". It's the epiphanic instant between blissful ignorance and shameful awareness that is the "D'oh!"

There, now you all know how sad my life is.
posted by jpoulos at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2001

posted by jpoulos at 12:12 PM on June 14, 2001

"sahy homea howzbout oned ofz thez speuzltzy beeahz. on ole moe whata say"(blink-blink)
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on June 14, 2001

Interestingly enough, every word in clavdius' post can be found in the OED.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:55 PM on June 14, 2001

First, regarding the spelling, "doh" is more common. That would be the number one guiding factor for a new entry's spelling right there, even regardless of the creator's own usage. [In my opinion, "d'oh" is one of those unlikely invented spellings in which the apostrophe serves no purpose. Homer's usage patterns of the word, according to the scripts online, indicate the word rarely represents an interruption of thought, but as interjection revealing a (usually negative) moment of revelation, or, not really an epiphany as written above.]

Second, regarding the inclusion of "slang" in the OED and the comment "As much as I enjoy the Simpsons, this really doesn't have enough justification for me to be included." It's not about slang or justification or right or wrong or real or not real, it's about words, particularly words that appear in print that have sustained and enduring usage. "Doh" clearly qualifies. Haxxor may well be there in a few years, if it ever makes it into standard usage.

Third, there are legions of people around the world who spend a large part of their time coming up with first citations for words. It's one of the OED's strong points. It's also a good way to uncover the fools and charlatans who claim they coined or invented a word or phrase.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2001

bonified words

It's "bona fide", actually - Latin for "good faith", often used in English as a synonym for "genuine" or "authentic".

But "bonified" sounds like the past tense of "bonify", which might mean "to turn into bone", and thus carry connotations of strength, rigidity, permanence, and fossilization. An appropriate word, I think, to describe words committed to the dictionary.

-Mars, pedant
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:01 PM on June 14, 2001

Thank you for that spell check, Mars. It was actually bugging me. The word looked completely wrong. I suppose I should have checked the OED before posting.


But "bonified" sounds like the past tense of "bonify", which might mean "to turn into bone", and thus carry connotations of strength, rigidity, permanence, and fossilization. An appropriate word, I think, to describe words committed to the dictionary.

D'oh... would have been more clever if I had meant the mis-spell to mean what Mars thinks it connotes. Boo. Urns.
posted by Ms Snit at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2001

My God, Mars, you sound like an SCA Herald. You are, just admit it...
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:19 PM on June 14, 2001

To follow up on Mo's comments, if you get as excited as I do about the ongoing War for Supremacy between Descriptivism and Proscriptivism, then you'd better read the David Foster Wallace article in a recent Harper's. But take several deep breaths and have a six-pack handy, 'cause it's a wild ride.

(DFW is the only living person who could explain Wittgenstein's private language argument in a foonote and get away with it.)
posted by gleuschk at 4:34 PM on June 14, 2001

I didn't see the actual entry linked here, so: doh [sic]

jpoulos, I really love your "Tao of D'oh". I have found meaning in the apostrophe, now.

(This whole thing just makes me happy!)
posted by kcchip at 7:37 PM on June 14, 2001

One of my favorite Simpsons moments involving "d'oh" (from episode 1F16, "Burns' Heir" (via The Simpsons Archive):

Bart: Mr. Burns, I don't want to seem ungrateful, but I want to go home to my family.
Burns: [sighs] I was hoping I wouldn't have to tell you this,
but...I'm afraid your family doesn't want you back. [flicks a switch]
[one of the TV monitors shows the Simpsons in the TV room]
Homer: [not Homer's voice] I do not miss Bart at all.
Marge: [not Marge's voice] I am glad he's gone.
Lisa: [almost Lisa's voice] As am I.
Homer: [drops a sandwich] B'oh!
Bart: It's probably my imagination, but something about them didn't seem quite right.
Burns: Really? Excuse me for just a moment. [walks into a nearby room and shuts the door. A TV set of the Simpsons living room has been set up.] People, that was all wrong. Homer Simpson doesn't say "B'oh", he says [checks script] "D'oh"!
Actor Homer: [pulls mask off; looks like Michael Caine]Sorry, M.B., but I'm having trouble with this character. Is he supposed to have some kind of neurological impairment, like "Rain Man", or "Awakenings"? I mean, what the _hell_ am I doing here?!
Actor Marge: And this dialog has _none_ of the wit and sparkle of "Murphy Brown".
Actor Lisa: [the midget Bart ran into] Hey, you know we are getting into golden time.
Burns: Yes, well just get it right or you'll all be doing "Come Blow Your Horn" at the Westport Dinner Theater. [walks back out into the control room] All right, let's see what the old Simpson family is up to now.
Actor Homer: [drops sandwich] Duh-oh!
posted by topolino at 11:14 PM on June 14, 2001

The actual entry. D'oh is an alternate acceptable form.
posted by geronimo_rex at 4:46 AM on June 15, 2001

When will 'kermitting' get into the OED you think?
posted by schoolie at 5:00 AM on June 15, 2001

CrayDrygu: I was wondering why it hadn't been linked. Maybe I didn't see that subscription stuff because I was checking from a university? *shrug*
posted by kcchip at 11:34 AM on June 15, 2001

lol Wulfgar. Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm just a geek.

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2001

I'm still waiting for "embiggens" to get an entry. I mean, why not? It's a perfectly cromulent word.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 11:12 PM on June 15, 2001

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