Meaning of “oh” in the English Dictionary

"oh" in British English

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uk /əʊ/ us //

A1 used to express different emotions, such as surprise, disappointment, and pleasure, often as a reaction to something someone has said:

"He's been married three times." "Oh, really? I didn't know that!"
"I'm sorry I can't come to the party." " Oh, too bad!"
Is that for me? Oh, that's so sweet!
"I'm sorry I forgot to call you." "Oh, don't worry."

A1 introduces an idea that you have just thought of, or something that you have just remembered:

Oh, I've just thought of a problem.
Oh, and don't forget to lock the back door.

A1 used with other expressions of disappointment, sadness, anger, etc.:

Oh dear, what a mess!
Oh no, I left my umbrella behind!

More examples

  • My, oh, my, what a busy day!
  • Did you hear what happened to Anna yesterday - oh, speak of the devil, here she is.
  • I really didn't want to go away this weekend but, oh well, it can't be helped.
  • You won't catch Carla eating in a cheap restaurant, oh no.
  • What was I talking about - oh yes, I was telling you what happened at the party.

ohnoun [ C ]

also o uk /əʊ/ us //

(Definition of “oh” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"oh" in American English

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us //

used to express a variety of emotions, such as surprise and pleasure, often as a reaction to something someone has said:

Oh, I didn’t know they were married.
Oh, really?

(Definition of “oh” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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