oy vey

Alternative Spellings

oi, oi vei, oi vay


  • exclamation of dismay, exasperation, or surprise

Example Sentences

  • "Oy, Jessica is such a pretty and smart girl. Why can't she find a husband already?"

Languages of Origin



אױ װײ oy vey 'oh woe'

Who Uses This

Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


North America


Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
JPS: The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

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