Many and Varied Uses

Such a range of meaning for so small a word.

ah, int.

An exclamation expressing, according to the intonation, various emotions, as

1. Sorrow, lamentation, regret, passing into the regretful expression of a vain wish. (Actual pain or suffering is now more commonly expressed by O! Oh! North. dial. have a (eː) in both senses.)

2. Surprise, wonder, admiration.

In the two prec. senses often followed by me (north. eh me!). Cf. It. ahime!

3. Entreaty, appeal, remonstrance; passing in former times into simple exclamation to excite attention, where O! would now be used. (North. dial. still have ā man!)

4. Dislike, aversion; passing into contempt, mockery, exultation over or satisfaction at misfortune.

5. Opposition, objection (to what has been said). Often followed by but.

Mod. Ah! but I know something better than that.

6. Realization, discovery, inspiration.

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