In John Wells‘s blog today, he talks about the interjection (or should that be exclamation?) most usually associated nowadays with Homer Simpson – variously spelt doh, d’oh or duh. He quotes from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, and says this may be the only dictionary to include the word. In fact it is also in the 10th edition of the Concise Oxford (1999), Oxford Dictionaries having researched its origins, and taken it back at least to Laurel and Hardy films, in which the word is often to be heard, in very much the same context as that in which Homer uses it. The definition in COD, at DOH(2) is “exclamation, informal, used to comment on a foolish action”, but the only pronunciation given is more suitable for the spelling duh. At DUH, we are told it is an alternative spelling for DOH(2).
But, as John says, duh is a comment on someone else’s stupidity, while DOH admits that the speaker has been stupid. Oxford has not grasped this difference (or at least it hadn’t when it published the 10th COD. Perhaps the 11th, which I haven’t seen yet, has got it right).

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