What is the name of the emotion that you feel when you accidentally make a mistake? Such as when you clumsily drop a bowl and it shatters? In the Simpsons, Homer says "D'oh!" when this sort of thing happens.

I don't think it's "regret", because you didn't do it on purpose. "Chagrined", perhaps? Is there a more common word for this emotion?

10 Answers 10


While I think your suggested chagrin may be most on point, you also might use

  • embarrassment
  • humiliation
  • mortification
  • discomfiture
  • vexation
  • discomposure

In a sense, D'oh is a sort of onomatopoetic representation of the slapping of the forehead while exclaiming, I feel like a dope!

  • 2
    I liked vexation. – Cruncher Apr 24 '14 at 20:07
  • the original chagrin is one I have not seen in a long time and seems well on target. the others are also mostly appropriate – javadba Apr 25 '14 at 19:57
  • Yes, I think chagrin is probably best. The dictionary defines it as "Distress or embarassment at having failed or been humiliated". – Jonathan Aquino Apr 28 '14 at 14:07

sheepishness - showing or feeling embarrassment especially because you have done something foolish or wrong

  • 13
    In mind mind, "sheepish" implies one is more quiet and reserved due to their embarrassment, whereas "D'oh!" is often exclaimed loudly. That could just be me though. – Alex A. Apr 24 '14 at 20:09
  • @Alex: Well, this forum posting by one "Preacher" seems perfectly "normal" to me: [sheepishly] D'oh! I didn't think of that. Thx. [/sheepishly]. That could be just him though. – FumbleFingers Apr 24 '14 at 21:29

The official term for Homer's "D'oh!" is "annoyed grunt," so strictly speaking, the adjective would be annoyed.

I admit, it doesn't really convey the emotional force of the interjection. Perhaps Homerically annoyed would be more fitting.

  • 1
    @T.Rob It's how he whines dark, see? – user61268 Apr 25 '14 at 15:21

I would say "consternation" is a good synonym for "d'oh". It captures the embarrassment and frustration.


Chagrin is a good word or vexation . Many would say:

"I feel clumsy."

although "clumsy" is not a feeling.

  • @BrianHooper You are correct.........do you suggest I edit my answer?? – Gary's Student Apr 25 '14 at 11:10

"Foolish" immediately comes to mind.

Other words with the same meaning include:

  • thoughtless
  • harebrained
  • imprudent
  • foolhardy
  • silly

And some more informal words:

  • stupid
  • idiotic
  • witless
  • brainless
  • dumb
  • dimwitted
  • halfwitted
  • 2
    OK - most of these aren't emotions though. – Jonathan Aquino Apr 26 '14 at 23:18
  • @Jonathan Why not? "I feel foolish." I suppose you could add -ness to all of these if they need to be nouns. – Doorknob Apr 27 '14 at 14:47
  • Hm - I think these are judgements/evaluations rather than emotions/feelings. – Jonathan Aquino Apr 28 '14 at 13:56

How about "flustered"?

It's closest I can think of to combining an element of personal embarrassment with a flash of frustration at the situation. It implies a response with a quick onset and brief span.

Of course that's just if "d'oh" refers to something you personally precipitated. It can be used in very different contexts, e.g. sympathizing with a friend's misfortune, or just frustration at something that happened to you.

  • Flustered carries an element of confusion with it, "D'oh!" does not as normally used. "D'oh?" on the other hand... – Mr.Mindor Apr 25 '14 at 15:26
  • I don't know if "flustered" carries confusion so much as "finding things not as expected and having a hard time recovering". You certainly could be confused by that, or it might be immediately evident what went wrong. – sosiouxme Apr 27 '14 at 21:32

It is a concatenation/combination of "Duh" and "Oh", which should be obvious. It can be looked at as a combination of "It's obvious" and "now I get it". If you check the dictionary, the definition is: "The feeling someone has after reading the above description."

The above response is the result of 8 hours of writing Java code.


Does "d'oh!" perhaps have an element of rueful or self-reproving?


I don't think a word should be defined by the way any one character uses it. "D'oh" was used by Jimmy Finlayson in most if not all of the 33 Laurel and Hardy shorts he appeared in. His was an expression of pure exasperation. Homer's is a different, I think reflecting a certain insecurity that never burdened Finlayson.

protected by tchrist Jul 6 '14 at 23:53

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