General English

  • noun the action of shouting out.

Idiom of “exclamation”

To the limited range of standard exclamatory idioms, such as Wow! Unbelievable! How exciting! What a fool! What rotten luck! I say! I mean – really! My word! My goodness! Hard lines/luck! Happy days! Cheers! Ouch! Crickey! Many happy returns! have to be added a set of catch-phrases such as On your bike! Big deal! My foot! No way! Not (bloody/bleeding) likely! Get stuffed/ knotted! Give over! Down the hatch! Pull your finger/digit out! Push off! There is additionally a sizeable range of more taboo amplifications or inelegant variations of most of these, often of a contemporary and occasionally of a local nature.

Recent exclamations include As if! Bless! Deal with it! Doh! Enjoy! Go for it! Mega! O. My. God! (Note the full stops, which are important pauses.) Too much information! Way to go! What are you like? Most of these phrases double as clichés.

Exclamation is not to be confused with its less idiomatic and more poetic sister, apostrophe. Apostrophe is a kind of rhetorical address or speech to the audience of a play or to an absent listener, as in:

Blow winds and crack your cheeks!(Shakespeare, King Lear)

What in me is dark illumine, what is low raise and support! (Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1)

Milton! Thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee! (Wordsworth)

Come away, O human child, to the waters and the wild! (Yeats)

No answer is expected in apostrophe.