When I am exasperated or frustrated when something is not working properly. Not like shit or fuck, those are just "something bad is happening", and too broad. I want something that's more like signifying annoyance, a "this is really getting to me" type of thing. Is there a word for this?

I have heard Chinese people say "aiiyaaa" in this scenario but I am not sure if there is an English equivalent for this.

  • If I remember correctly, Captain Haddock only ever used 'Blisterin' Barnacles!' when at the end of his tether. But then he was usually at the end of his tether. Oct 7, 2014 at 21:36
  • 1
    @Edwin Ashworth 'Aunt Fanny' of Enid Blyton creation might have said 'bother'!
    – WS2
    Oct 7, 2014 at 22:06
  • 3
    What's wrong with a long, drawn-out guttural "AAARRRGHH!"? Works for me! :-) Oct 7, 2014 at 22:08
  • 2
    @Kristina Looks very similar in print to the long, drawn out, higher pitched "AAARRRGHH!" when one sidesteps a bramble and ends up in a large patch of nettles. Oct 7, 2014 at 22:12
  • 1
    Why say anything? Who are you saying it to? What outcome do you expect to achieve? If I may intuit that nobody in particular is listening, that you wish to relieve frustration, and want to get to a more positive outcome, then a slightly humorous phrase like "I'm ready for the alternate ending now!" may help.
    – user63230
    Oct 7, 2014 at 23:01

9 Answers 9


Here's a list which might prove helpful to you. I'm sorry the list comprises more than just one-word expressions of exasperation.

  • "Oh, bother!"

  • "Saints preserve us!"

  • "Give me grace!"

  • "Fiddlesticks!"

  • "Screw it!"

  • "Give me strength!"

  • "Lord!"

  • "I give up!"

  • "Blast!"

  • "For Pete's sake!"

  • "For crying out loud!"

  • "Give me a break!"

  • "Why me?"

  • "Good night nurse!" (This is a strange one I picked up decades ago, and I find myself using it quite frequently. I seriously doubt you will find it in any dictionary or book of expressions, but I like it. It works for me!)

  • "Good grief!" (Charlie Brown's mantra, from Charles Schulz's comic strip, Peanuts)

  • "Forgive me, Lord, for what I am about to do!"


Damn! or Damn it! are relevant.

  • no those are more like the other two swear words. I am looking for exasperation specific, not a blanket utterance for bad things. It would be especially good if it can be drawn out. like aiyaaaaaa
    – BigBoy1337
    Oct 7, 2014 at 21:49
  • I disagree. These almost always signal exasperation; your two suggestions might be used when disgusted or alarmed. Oct 7, 2014 at 21:52

You could go for an interjection like "ugh", "psht" or "tch".

  • 2
    'Ugh' surely is a sign of disgust. Oct 7, 2014 at 21:53

Possibly Shazbot? It originated on Robin Williams' TV series Mork and Mindy:

From Wiktionary:

An excited utterance used to convey disappointment, particularly as a euphemism for sh*t.

And from Urban Dictionary:

Generally used as a substitute curse-word; a euphemism.


I don't know if this is like your "aiiyaaa", but I write, and say (when profanity is not allowable, like at work)



The phrase Aye Yai Yai (mentalfloss.com) is not uncommon to a Chicagoan; most likely thanks to our Spanish population. Whatever its meaning is I don't know but that doesn't matter; I know what was meant.

Do abbreviations count? no? Well, then FFS!


Jesu Cristo - my personal exclamation in such instances.

While in Thailand I often heard something akin to the "aiiyaaa" cited above and even use that myself sometimes. Maybe in Thai more - "aheeee"

  • This is an informative answer, but it would be more helpful to the OP and the site if you could reference third-party authorities, over and above your personal experiences.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 8, 2014 at 0:21


I believe this is the most accurate English translation.


How about a touch of humor? e.g. ;'Damn, damn, double damn...and a full pint of damn for the weekend!' Credit to Peter (Hugh Laurie) and John (Stephen Fry) on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.