Wednesday, May 18, 2022

How do you spell speech noises?


The Wednesday afternoon class and I recently found this wonderful page, prompted by the question, How do you spell Uh-huh?

Dictionary of Interjections

https://www.vidarholen.net/contents/interjections/ 

Here is a list of English interjections, specifically those that are not included in normal dictionaries because they just signify noises people make (ahh, ow, grr) rather than exclamation words (hey, stop, yes).

Like the sounds themselves, most of the interjection can be made stronger by stretching them out, such as "aaaaaah!!!" or "awwwwwww!!". This list mostly describes the shortest canonical representations. Note that some are listed several times with different meanings, and as alternate spellings under other entries.

 

Word

Alternate/ Similar

Translation

Example

Meaning

aah!

aaah, aaaahh

"Help!"

"Aaaah! It's eating my leg!"

Fright, shock. Sometimes it means "ahh" instead.

aha

a-ha

"I understand"

"Aha! So you took the money!"

Understanding, triumph (can also be used as "ahh")

ahem

"Attention, please!"

"Ahem! Swearing is against office policy."

The sound of clearing one's throat. Used to get someone's attention, especially if they don't know (or apparently forgot) that you're there.

ahh

ahhh, ohh

"Ok, I see"

"Ahh, yes, I understand now"

Realisation, understanding. Sometimes it means "aaah" or "eh" instead.

ahh

ahhh..

"So relaxing"

"Ahh... This hot tub is amazing"

Relief or relaxation

argh

augh

"Damn!"

"Argh, the car won't work!"

Annoyance, anger, frustration

aww

aw, awww

"How sweet!"

"Aww, what an adorable puppy"

Shows sentimental approval (also see next entry)

aww

aw, ohh, ahh

"That's too bad"

"Aww, it hit him right in the nuts!"

Feeling sorry or pity for someone

aw

oh

"Come on!"

"Aw, don't be like that!"

Mild disappointment or protest

bah

"Whatever"

"Bah, I never liked him anyways."

Dismissive, annoyed

boo

booh

"That's bad"

"Boo, get off the stage!"

Disapproval, contempt

boo!

booh!

"Scared you!"

I jumped out from the closet and yelled "boo!"

A noise used to scare people by surprise

boo-hoo

boohoo

"I'm crying!"

Your internet is slow? Boo-hoo, how sad for you.

Used, often sarcastically, to imitate crying.

brr

brrrr

"It's cold"

"Brrr, it's -20C outside"

Being cold, shivering

d'oh

doh

"That was stupid/bad!"

"I just deleted all my files. D'oh!"

Homer Simpson's catchphrase when something bad happens.

duh

"That's dumb"

"Duh, you didn't plug it in."

Expresses annoyance over something stupid or obvious

eek

eeeek

"Help!"

"Eeek, a mouse!"

Girly scream. Surprised, scared.

eep

"Oh no!"

"Eep! I didn't mean to say that!"

Surprise (female)

eh?

huh?

"What?"

"Eh? I didn't hear what you said."

Misunderstanding. Also see "eh?" below

eh?

huh?, eyh?

"Is that right?"

"So she dumped you, eh?"

Stereotypically overused by Canadians

eww

ugh, ewww, yuck, ick

"Disgusting"

"Ewww, this apple is rotten"

Disgust, dislike

fuff

"Bullshit"

"Oh fuff, you don't know what you're talking about!"

Contempt and disregard

gah

"This is hopeless"

"Gah, I give up"

Exasperation and despair

gee

"Really?"

"Gee, that's super!"

Surprise, enthusiasm, or just general emphasis.

grr

grrrr

"I'm angry"

"Grrr, I'll kick his ass"

Anger, snarling, growling. Often used for dogs and other animals.

hmm

hm, hmmmm

"I wonder"

"Hmm, I'm not sure about that"

Thinking, hesitation.

humph

harumph

"I don't like this"

"There are kids on my lawn again, humph!"

A snort, to express dislike, disbelief or annoyance.

hah

heh

"Funny."

"Heh, that's clever"

The first syllable of "hahaha", when something is just a little funny. "Hah" can also be used spitefully in one-upmanship, as in "Hah, got you again you loser"

haha

hehe, hahaha, bahaha

"Funny!"

"Haha, that's hilarious!"

Regular laughter.

huh

"Really?"

"Huh, you were right"

Mild, indifferent surprise

hurrah

hooray, huzzah

"Let's celebrate!"

"Hurrah, we won!"

Generic exclaimation of joy

ick

yuck, ich, yak

"Disgusting"

"Ick, this milk has gone bad"

Disgust, dislike

meh

eh

"I don't know"

"Meh, whatever you think is best"

Indifference

mhm

mmhm, uh-hu

"Yes"

"Do you think so too?" "Mhm"

Agreement, acknowledgement.

mm

mmm, mmh

"Lovely"

"Mmm, this ice cream is delicious"

Pleasure. Sometimes it means "hmm" instead.

muahaha

mwahaha, bwahaha

"I'm so evil!"

"I switched the sugar and the salt! Muahaha!"

Evil villain's triumphant laugh

mwah

m-wah

"Kiss!"

"Thanks, you're so sweet! Mwah!"

The sound of blowing a kiss

nah

"No"

"Want another beer?" "Nah, I'm good"

Informal no

nuh-uh

nuh-hu, nu-huh

"No, it isn't!"/"Did not!"

"I hit you!" "Nuh-uh!" "Yuh-uh!" "Nuh-uh!"

Childish negation or refusal

oh

"I see"

"Oh, you wanted sugar, not milk."

Realisation

ooh-la-la

oh-lala, la-di-da, la-dee-dah

"Fancy!"

"A seven layer wedding cake? Ooh-la-la!"

An often ironic (or just funny) way indicating that something is fancy or high class

ooh

oooh

"Wonderful!"

"Oooh, it's shiny!"

Wonder, amazement (ohhh can also mean ahhh)

oomph

umph

"I'm exerting myself"

"Push on 3.. 1, 2, 3.. oomph!"

A grunt made on sudden exertion. Also used as a noun to mean "power" or "energy" ("This song needs more oomph!")

oops

"I didn't mean to do that"

"Oops, I knocked your cup over"

Being surprised at or acknowledging your own mistakes

ouch

ow, ouch, yeow

"That hurts"

"Ouch, I hit my thumb"

Expression of pain

oww

oww, ouch, yeow

"That hurts"

"Oww, I hit my thumb"

Expression of pain

oy

oi, oyh

"Hey, you!"

"Oy! You forgot your wallet!"

Mainly British: Used to get someone's attention, similar to "hey!". Also used disapprovingly ("Oy, you spilled your drink all over me!").

oy

oy vay

"Oh no..."

"The bills are piling up. Oy..."

Mainly Jewish: Used to express self-pity, similar to "woe is me!"

pew

pee-yew

"It stinks!"

"Pew, that smells so gross!"

Used for foul odors

pff

pffh, pssh, pfft

"That's nothing"

"Pff, I once caught a fish twice that size"

Unimpressed

phew

"That was close!"

"I didn't do my homework, but the teacher didn't check. Phew!"

Expressing relief

psst

Whispering "Hey, you!"

"Psst. Let's skip the next class!"

Used to quietly get someone's attention, often to tell them a secret.

sheesh

jeez

"I can't believe this!"

"Sheesh, now he's drunk again"

Exasperation, annoyance (corruption of "Jesus")

shh

hush, shush

"Be quiet"

"Shh, I'm trying to hear what they're saying!"

Used to make someone be quiet

shoo

"Go away"

"Get out of here! Shoo!"

Used to drive away animals or small children

tsk-tsk

tut-tut

"Disappointing"

"Tsk-tsk, he is late for work again"

disappointment, contempt (this is a clicking sound. Clip from Futurama)

uh-huh

mhm, uh-hu

"Yes"

"Do you think so too?" "Uh-hu"

Agreement, acknowledgement (easily confused with uh-uh)

uh-oh

oh-oh

"Oh no!"

"Uh-oh, I think the bear is inside the house"

Concerned for indications that something will happen

uh-uh

unh-unh, unh-uh

"No"

"Eat your spinach!" "Uh-uh!"

Refusal, especially if your mouth is full or if you refuse to open it (easily confused with uh-huh)

uhh

uhm, err

"Wait, I'm thinking"

"Seven times eight is... uhh... 56"

Indicates a pause in, rather than the end of, a sentence

umm

uhh, ummm

"I'm hesitant"

"Umm.. Do you really think that's wise?"

Being hesitant or skeptical (usually interchangable with "uhh" above)

waah

waaaaah

"I'm crying!"

"I don't want you to go! Waaah!"

Used, often sarcastically, for imitating crying or whining.

wee

whee, weee

"This is fun!"

"Weee! Faster!"

Used by children when doing something fun, and often ironically by adults when something is fun but childish

whoa

"Hold on."

"Whoa, take it easy!"

Can be used to suggest caution as in here, and also stereotypically used by marijuana smokers to express dumbfounded amazement ("whoa, look at the colors!"). Originally a sound used to make horses stop.

wow

"Amazing!"

"Wow, that's incredible!"

Impressed, astonished

yahoo

yippee, woohoo

"Let's celebrate!"

"Yippie! We won!"

Generic exclaimation of joy

yay

"Yes!"

"Yay! We won!"

All-purpose cheer. Approval, congratulations and triumph

yeah

yeeeeaah!

"Yes!"

"Yeeeaah! Kick his butt!"

Common slang for "yes", sometimes also used as an interjection.

yee-haw

yeehaw

"I'm excited!"

"Let's gather some cattle! Yee-haw!"

Much like "yahoo", but almost always associated with cowboys.

yikes

"That's a bad surprise."

"I found out I owed $5000 in back taxes. Yikes!"

Fear and alarm.

yoo-hoo

yoohoo

"Hey you!"

"Yoo-hoo, sugercup! Come give me a hug!"

The often ironic/comical, seductive call of a woman to get someone's attention

yuh-uh

yuh-hu, yu-huh

"Yes, it is!"/"Did so!"

"I hit you!" "Nuh-uh!" "Yuh-uh!" "Nuh-uh!" ...

Childish affirmation, often used to counter "nuh-uh!" (not to be confused with yoo-hoo).

yuck

ick, ich, blech, bleh, eww, ugh, yech

"Disgusting!"

"Yuck, I wouldn't want to touch that"

Disgust, dislike

zing

ba-dum-tss, badum tish

"Haha, well said!"

"You're so stupid, you'd trip over a wireless phone!" "Zing!"

Used (often ironically) to punctuate a punchline or witty comeback. From the sound of a rimshot, played after punchlines in some comedy acts.


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