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[oo ps, oops] /ʊps, ups/
(used to express mild dismay, chagrin, surprise, etc., as at one's own mistake, a clumsy act, or social blunder.)
Origin of oops
1925-30; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oops
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a tremendous crash from the kitchen, a shriek of surprise, then a small “oops.”

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • He saw my look and said, "oops, I mean this milestone in paper technology once it is announced to the world."

    The Professional Approach Charles Leonard Harness
British Dictionary definitions for oops


/ʊps; uːps/
an exclamation of surprise or of apology as when someone drops something or makes a mistake
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oops

"a natural exclamation" [OED] of surprise at doing something awkward, but attested only from 1933 (cf. whoops).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for oops



An exclamation of surprise, dismay, apology, etc, esp when one has done something awkward: Mr Belve, oops, I mean Webb, is ecstatic (1933+)


A blunder; serious mistake; goof, whoops: Might have saved her life. Basic oops (1980s+)


(also oops up) To vomit; barf (1980s+)

[echoic, fr the involuntary lip-rounding and expulsion of breath that accompany a regrettable mistake, and from an approximation of the sound of vomiting]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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oops in Technology

"OOPS: A Knowledge Representation Language", D. Vermeir, Proc 19th Intl Hawaii Conf on System Sciences, IEEE (Jan 1986) pp.156-157.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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