Wednesday, August 8, 2012

D is for "D'oh!"

Today's ABC Wednesday seemed like the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to one of my favorite words in the English language.

I know (because I've heard) some people complain about "made up" words becoming part of our accepted vocabulary, and being legitimized by popular use (and even - gasp - the dictionary!) My response to that complaint was to point out that all words were made up at some point - that's how they became words! The counter-argument of course was "yeah... well... at least they used to have to stand the test of time before they became legitimate words."

Ok, so that I couldn't really argue with. There is no denying that the creation of language has evolved considerably. Modern technology has definitely changed the speed with which new words or phrases gain popularity and become widely accepted (or at least tolerated.) But I think that's probably something we're just going to have to learn to live with - I don't see it changing any time soon.

But even if we were to go with the "standing the test of time" argument, I think we still have to admit that d'oh is now a real word. The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989. That's 23 years worth of d'oh to go around. And around. And around. (Come on. Don't try to tell me that you've never said it.)

But it's not just the word's prevalence in our language, or on the show, that makes it worth noticing. I mean, many of the show's character's have great catch phrases.

Ha, Ha!

Thank you. Come again!

And most of us that are Simpsons fans have probably used several of these in conversation at one time or another. (I know I have been in several situations where a Nelson-esque "Ha, ha!" was completely justified.)

But d'oh is my favorite for another reason - not just because it's funny. I love it because it has given us something to say when we really need an expletive but can't (or don't want to) use one.

Because you know there are those times. You stub your toe on the coffee table. A glass slips out of your hand and spills its contents all over your kitchen floor. The dog jumps on you and gets muddy paw prints all over your shirt. There are just times in life that make you feel a need to yell something. But there are also times when yelling what you are actually thinking would be inappropriate. And thanks to Homer Simpson, you now have something non-offensive to yell. :)


  1. I am all for adopting new words into our language. Even made-up ones. As a Shakespeare fan, I know many words and phrases were coined in his writings that stuck and rightly so.

    What annoys me is when the completely wrong usage of a word starts to creep into language replacing the absolutely correct, just as useful predecessor not because the word is better but because the new word is misused en masse.

  2. Well, some dictionaries now include d'oh, so it's real to me!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. I can honestly say that I've never uttered a "d'oh", but that's because I'm not a Simpsons fan at all. But, I'm not opposed to new words coming into the mainstream; the more the merrier, I say. (Though I'll admit to a certain annoyance with the current trend of "amazeballs".) And I still remember completely annoying my parents with the advent of "duh". It's always something.

  4. I always think of the book "Kindle" by Andrew Clemens-"what makes a word a word? You do."

    1. Frindle. I use that book with my 4th graders.

  5. I've never seen the Simpson's so I'm not familiar with the word. I do know that new words make the dictionary very often and I use some of them.

  6. Coming here in America, I learned words that we never use in English in my country.

    Catching up With ABC.

    Daredevil Diva
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  7. Language is fluid and meets the need of current culture. words should be welcomed! Kate, ABC team

  8. Now, if "Words With Friends" would just recognize it!!!

  9. I am definitely not a fan of the Simpsons, but I am a fan of the English language, and the origins of words.....