|Tropes and genres|
|Synonym(s)||italicized oh, italicized oh moment|
|Related articles on Fanlore.|
This "Oh" is not a simple expression of surprise, but is used to denote a pivotal moment of realization, often of a character's own feelings for someone, or of the fact that those feelings are reciprocated.
It is often used in sequence: "Oh. Oh." to better emphasize the slow but radical change in someone's understanding of a situation.
As a literary device, it is likely that the use of the "Oh." or "Oh." to express this idea has always existed.
However around 2018/2019, it seems to have gained more attention and to have become increasingly popular to the point of acquiring meme status around 2020/2021.
Presumably this increased popularity then led to an increase in its use, though it is difficult to obtain proper statistics to support this hypothesis.
Examples in fanworks
"Oh," he said against Ray's mouth, and then, "I really love it when you do my hair, you know?"
Brian stared at him, his eyes wide and desperate, and even then it took until he moved forward and put his hands on Gerard's hips for the penny to drop. Oh. Oh. Gerard was a fucking idiot. "Oh." He shifted his hips a little against Brian's hands, just to test it. Brian's grasp tightened, but he didn't drop his gaze from Gerard's eyes. "Oh," Gerard breathed. "You like me like this."
"... I did not want any other lover," Segundus admitted rather uncomfortably. Without his conscious permission, his hands had crept into Childermass's hair. It felt as electric as it had felt that spring day in the garden, soft and coarse at the same time, like unmilled silk.
"Oh," Childermass said. It was a soft, astonished sound. It made Segundus want to keep kissing him.
It’s around the twelfth time he listens to the song that Matt catches a clue. He sees his media player’s stats and stares at them, unblinking, for a full minute. Twelve listens. Twelve? And he experiences what feels like an elaborate, slow-motion crash, like a cartoon character being hit by a massive anvil. Whenever I'm alone with you. Oh.
Oh. Oh no.
He closes his eyes slowly, painfully, and tips forward. This is appalling. He hits the desk with his face, and spends the next twenty or so minutes moaning, “no. No, no, noooo.”
Oh. Oh. It is possible, just possible, that Lovett may have been wrong about a couple of things.
It’s like watching Crowley break, this shivering, terrified creature clinging to him like he might disappear, and oh. Oh, Aziraphale thinks, feeling very small and fragile himself all of a sudden.
“It is not Praxus I crave to see, my archivist. It is you.”
Oh. Oh. Orion swallowed, digits pressing harder against the screen, as if by sheer force of will he could break through to the mech he loved on the other side.
The mech he loved.The mech he loved.
Moonlight is shining in through the high windows, and the floor gleams a rich mahogany. Lew does something he’s always wanted to: he runs a few steps and then skids in his socked feet until he almost falls over, and when he looks back Dick’s laughing and Lew’s laughing too and—
He’s not always nice but he’s one of the kindest people that Sokka has ever met.
The revelation is like a crash of ocean water over Sokka’s head.
He stares at Zuko, his heart pounding, and feels very suddenly like he’s going to burst into flame.
When it loaded, Larry’s breath caught in his throat at the tab that was open. He picked the computer up so Eric wouldn’t see the screen. On the screen in big black letters was “How do you know if you’re Gay?”
Larry looked towards his bedroom door which was still closed. So, Chuck hadn’t been in bed all day. Was this what it was? Was Chuck questioning his sexuality? Did he think Larry would react badly if he brought it up? Is that why he wouldn’t talk about it?
Discussion of "Oh." in fanworks covers topics like its effects, whether it really has a special use, and whether the trope is overplayed and writers should lay off it:
[@megumfushiguro (formerly @yatogamis_)]
my favorite part in fics is when a character realizes they're in love with someone and there's always this "oh." in italics
[i-preen-for-oikawa (aka. Pink Daisies)]
That’s the best shit and you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands
The meme of fanfiction writers using "oh" has been getting traction over the past few months. I know that in our little fanfic world we tend to gravitate towards certain words/scenarios and such, but I wonder why "oh" in particular seems to have this power. I've used it before in my own fics, even in ones years back, so this isn't a new thing. I don't know which fic/fandom I even picked it up from. I didn't even realize how big of a thing this was until it got memed. Now I'm a lot more self conscious about it since I have used it in my original fiction (not recently, but in the past I have)
What about you guys? Have you found yourself using "oh" in your fics?
Many memes have been created about the "Oh. Oh." moment, for example:
"Reading a slow burn fic be like: IT'S ABOUT THE ITALICIZED "OH." - @amyeeera (2020)
the sluttiest thing a character can do is have a nemesis. to loathe them. to be forced to work together. to come to learn them. to have their feelings shift. to have that moment of “oh. OH.” to question all they know. to shove them against the wall adn—
cassbeewrites tweet, July 6, 2022
Use as reaction phrase
Many social media users use the phrase "italicized oh" to describe what is happening in a picture or gif they are posting, describing what the characters or people involved are feelings (i.e., "this picture is X having an 'italicized oh' moment.").
Another use developed off the back of that practice (?), in which variations on "italicized oh" by itself is used to describe the poster's own reaction to a piece of media that made them experience certain feelings. A simple twitter search for the term returned dozens of such uses concentrated over a few weeks of August 2021 (due to the limitations of the Twitter search tool), among which the following examples, used to react to media being posted or to reply to media:
- Twitter search for "italicized oh"
- Oh (tag), Italicized Oh (tag), and Italicized Oh Moment (tag) at AO3
- italicized+oh (tag) and italicized oh (tag) at Tumblr
- i'll tell you when you get your soft, italicized, "Oh." quizz on uquiz.com by strikerflynnmr
- "Staring Through the Demons - Bexless - My Chemical Romance Fall Out Boy". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "Pretty, Reckless - brooklinegirl - My Chemical Romance [Archive of Ou…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "Hal-an-Tow - Chapter 5 - halsinator - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell …". Archived from the original on 2022-05-29.
- "The Price of Salt; or, Follow your confusion, it'll lead you somewher…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-29.
- "A Ring is Like a Circle: It Goes on Forever - Chapter 3 - by ominous_snail_cult…". Archived from the original on 2022-07-17.
- "luxflora — aro-culture-is not getting the appeal ..." Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "megumfushiguro (formerly yatogamis_) on Twitter: "my favorite part in fics is when a…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "restinhumour on Twitter: "whenever I read fics without the, "oh"…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "rogha — it's even better when it's like.. Oh. Oh". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "Pink Daisies • That's the best shit and you can pry it out of my..." Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "AO3 Comment of the Day • Bonus points if ..." Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "therealsaintscully — The italicized oh is my favorite thing …". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- ""Oh" - post by your-yogurt : subreddit FanFiction". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "ryukohime comments on "Oh" : subreddit FanFiction". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "Ok-Pepper8230 comments on "Oh" : subreddit FanFiction". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "LuckyWatersAO3 comments on "Oh" : subreddit FanFiction". Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.
- "Julia on Twitter: "Reading a slow burn fic be like:… "". 2020-09-11. Archived from the original on 2022-05-28.