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"D'oh!" (//) is a catchphrase used by the fictional character Homer Simpson, from the television series, The Simpsons, an animated sitcom (1989–present). It is typically used when Homer injures himself, realizes that he has done something stupid, or when something bad has happened or is about to happen to him. All his prominent blood relations—son Bart, daughters Lisa and Maggie, his father, his mother and half-brother—have also been heard to use it themselves in similar circumstances. On a few occasions Homer's wife Marge and even non-related characters such as Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob have also used this phrase.
In 2006, "d'oh!" was listed as number six on TV Land's list of the 100 greatest television catchphrases. The spoken word "d'oh" is a sound trademark of 20th Century Fox. Since 2001, the word "doh" has appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary, without the apostrophe. Early recorded usages of the sound "d'oh" are in numerous episodes of the BBC Radio series It's That Man Again between 1945 and 1949, but the OxfordWords blog notes "Homer was responsible for popularizing it as an exclamation of frustration." The term also appeared in an early issue of Mad comics, with a different spelling but the same meaning, in issue 8 (December 1953 – January 1954); in a one-page story by Harvey Kurtzman entitled "Hey Look!", a man seeking peace and quiet suddenly hears a loud radio and, grimacing, says, "D-oooh – the neighbors [sic] radio!!"
During the voice recording session for a Tracey Ullman Show short, Homer was required to utter what was written in the script as an "annoyed grunt". Dan Castellaneta rendered it as a drawn out "d'ooooooh". This was inspired by Jimmy Finlayson, the mustachioed Scottish actor who appeared in 33 Laurel and Hardy films, from the pre-sound era up to 1940. Finlayson had used the term as a minced oath for suggesting the word "damn!" without actually saying it. Matt Groening felt that it would better suit the timing of animation if it were spoken faster. Castellaneta then shortened it to a quickly uttered "d'oh!" The first intentional use of "d'oh!" occurred in the Ullman short "Punching Bag" (1988), and its first usage in the series was in the series premiere, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". It is typically represented in the show's script as "(annoyed grunt)", and is so spelled out in the official titles of several episodes. Some episodes feature variations of the word such as "Bart of Darkness" (season six, 1994), where Homer says "D'oheth" after an Amish farmer points out to him that he has built a barn instead of the swimming pool he was intending; "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" (season ten, 1999), where Homer says "d'oh" in Japanese (with English subtitles, the spoken phrase being "shimatta baka ni"); or The Simpsons Movie (2007) where Homer shouts "d'oooohme!" after the EPA seals the Simpsons' hometown, Springfield, in a giant dome.
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As the word arose out of Castellaneta's interpretation of a non-specific direction, it did not have an official spelling for several years. Instead, it was always written in Simpsons scripts as "(Annoyed Grunt)". In recognition of this, four episodes feature the phrase "(Annoyed Grunt)" in the episode title:
- "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (Season 8, 1997)
- "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" (Season 11, 1999)
- "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot" (Season 15, 2004)
- "G.I. (Annoyed Grunt)" (Season 18, 2006)
After the word became well-defined, nine other episodes just had it written in their titles as "D'oh" (initially interspersed with "(Annoyed Grunt)", then replacing it):
- "D'oh-in in the Wind" (Season 10, 1998)
- "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" (Season 11, 2000)
- "C.E. D'oh" (Season 14, 2003)
- "We're on the Road to D'ohwhere" (Season 17, 2006)
- "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs" (Season 19, 2007)
- "Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh" (Season 20, 2009)
- "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed" (Season 21, 2010)
- "The Falcon and the D'ohman" (season 23, 2011)
- "The D'oh-cial Network" (season 23, 2012)
- "D'oh Canada" (season 30, 2019)
The term "d'oh!" has been used or adopted by many Simpsons fans, and even non-fans. The term has become commonplace in modern speech and demonstrates the extent of the show's influence. "D'oh!" was first added to the Oxford Dictionary of English in 1998 as an interjection with the definition "(usually [in a manner] mildly derogatory) used to comment on an action perceived as foolish or stupid."
- 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. Also (usu. mildly derogatory): implying that another person has said or done something foolish (cf. DUH int.).
The headword spelling is doh, but d'oh is listed as a variant (as is dooh). The etymology section notes "the word appears (in the form D'oh) in numerous publications based on The Simpsons". Eight quotations featuring the sound "d'oh" are cited: the earliest is from a 1945 episode of the BBC radio series It's That Man Again; two others are Simpsons-related.
- "Dyn-O-Mite! TV Land lists catchphrases". USA Today. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "The 100 greatest TV quotes and catchphrases". TV Land. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Latest Status Info". TARR. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Shewchuk, Blair (2001-07-17). "D'oh! A Dictionary update". CBC News. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- "Ay caramba! A look at some of the language of The Simpsons". Oxford Dictionaries. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
- "What's the story with . . . Homer's D'oh!". The Herald, Glasgow. July 21, 2007. p. 15. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
- Simon, Jeremy (1994-02-11). "Wisdom from The Simpsons' 'D'ohh' boy". The Daily Northwestern. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15.
- The Simpsons Movie (Film). 20th Century Fox. 2007-07-27.
- OED, 3rd draft online edition, s.v. "doh"
- "It's in the dictionary, d'oh!". BBC News, Entertainment. BBC. 2001-06-14. Archived from the original on 2002-12-03. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- "'D'oh!' The Right Thing?". Newsweek. 2001-06-15. Retrieved 2008-09-07.