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logo Albert Heijn Emerald Delfgauw

Ah, yes, so now we come to one of my favorite words: ah. I like this word because it’s so dramatic yet also so subtle and ambiguous. It can mean almost anything — or almost nothing — depending on how it’s inflected.

  • “Ah, this bath feels great.”
  • “Ah, say what now?”
  • “Ah, what a beautiful painting.”
  • “Ah, you’re full of baloney.”
  • “Ah, now I get it.”
  • “Ah ah ah, don’t touch!”

It takes eight different letters up front, but only one on the rear. The word aah I already mentioned, and bah should be familiar to anyone who knows their humbug, but what does dah mean exactly? Answer: That’s how you say a “dash” when speaking Morse code. “Dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit.” Sound familiar? That’s S.O.S.

I don’t suppose that hah or nah need much introduction, but pah might. It’s an exclamation of disgust, as in, “Pah! I hate the taste of ground earthworm.” Not much to say about rah or yah except to note I’ve always preferred “yeah” as the spelling for the slang form of “yes” — but that’s just me.

On the other end, the only three-letter word to be formed is aha, which is a close relative of ah and aah, but with more of an implicitly revelatory connotation. A revelatory relative, so to speak.

logo Albert Heijn Emerald Delfgauw / Gerard Stolk /

Published inWords & Numbers

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