‘Doh!’ OED says Simpsons mantra is ‘okily-dokily’

by Anne Preller

An icon of American pop culture has finally been defined in literary circles around the world.

The Oxford English Dictionary has added Homer Simpson’s well-known “doh!” into its extensive vocabulary.

The online edition of the OED defines “doh” as “expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish.” It also implies “another person has said or done something foolish.”

As in the popular TV show, “The Simpsons,” the exclamation “doh!” is usually accompanied by a slap to the forehead.

The Oxford English Dictionary is known as the authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. The second edition of the OED, published in 1989, comprised 21,730 pages and weighed more than 137 pounds. Currently the OED is available in a 20-volume print edition and online.

Homer Simpson was not available for comment, but University residents seemed unconcerned about “The Simpsons” finally being acknowledged as contributors to the English language.

“I’m not too surprised they incorporated it. I’m not really for or against it,” said Kersten Anderson, a graduate and current employee of the University.

“I think it’s more of a slang term than anything that should be in the dictionary,” said Carlye Johnson, a student in the School of Nursing.

Tim Gustafson, the associate director of the English department’s composition program, had a positive reaction to a so-called slang term addition to an esteemed dictionary.

“My opinion is that language is a living thing and our language is changing more and more rapidly with mass media and new technologies. To stay alive, those changes have to happen and it’s the business of lexicographers – the people who make dictionaries – to document the language and to describe how it’s being used. So if that includes Homer Simpson’s ‘doh,’ they are doing their job,” Gustafson said.

The OED also added terminology from the Internet including the terms “browsers,” “chat rooms,” “cookies,” “dotcoms” and “MP3 files” as well as the term “Internet” itself.

The recent additions to the Oxford English Dictionary went online Thursday.

“In the most recent ratings book for May 2001, ‘The Simpsons’ remain the number one program from 5 to 6 p.m. and for adults ages 18 to 49 years old,” said Enith Parkinson, director of promotion and marketing at Fox station WFTC.

“Hopefully, it will continue that way for a long time as it does not show signs of erosion,” she said.

“The Simpsons” have appeared on the FOX network for the past 12 seasons. This is their first addition to the Oxford English Dictionary.


Anne Preller covers student life and
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