The interjection d’oh, popularized by the character Homer Simpson in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, can express a range of emotions, including annoyance, sheepishness, pain, and agitation. It often has a self-deprecating tone, highlighting one’s own Homerish buffoonery. Though the word is American in origin, it has spread around the English-speaking world and should now be familiar to most English speakers who engage pop culture.
Like most interjections, d’oh probably has no place in formal writing. It can function either as a standalone sentence, usually with an exclamation point (D’oh!), or as a parenthetical set off by commas (e.g., D’oh, that was boneheaded of me).
D’oh was once mostly confined to the TV show, but it has entered the language more widely. It was even sort of made official in 2001, when the Oxford English Dictionary added the word. Here are a few examples illustrating d’oh‘s many applications:
Chris Brown was the night’s big winner, … although a technical hitch saw ex-girlfriend Rihanna announced as the winner. D’oh. [Mirror]
D’oh! A set-time switch at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Stage results in God’s Outlaw going on early, and we missed ’em. [AV Club]
D’oh! They weren’t for sale as pets. [Sydney Morning Herald]
He has said he didn’t know that NREL was funded by the EERE department of DOE. D’oh! [Huffington Post]
D’oh! Does Mr. Thirteen Percent really want to remind everybody how determined he is to keep his tax returns private? [Washington Post]
D’oh! Dissident Xstrata shareholders resist Glasenberg’s reverse psychology [Guardian]