‘Aiyoh’ now in the Oxford English Dictionary

Aiyoh! What has the Oxford English Dictionary gone and done now? In its September list of new words, it included entries such as scrumdiddlyumptious (delicious) and yogasana (no explanation needed, one hopes), but also – well, ‘aiyoh’ and ‘aiyah.’

Speakers of South Indian languages who have never uttered ‘aiyoh’ have probably had very uneventful lives. It’s one of the most affectively versatile words in the Dravidian lexicon, capable of expressing – in Tamil alone – a suite of emotions including consternation (“Aiyoh! Why is he wearing that shirt again?”), shock (“Aiyoh! Are you sure he has passed away?”) and – with a slight modification – apprehension (“Ai-yi-yoh..I’m sure my boss is going to fire me for this!”). Read more