top of page

Ope! I forgot

When you are in the Midwestern part of the United States, one stereotype you come across is how polite the population is. Whether this is true or not, people believe this partly from a single word uttered during an unexpected situation – Ope! Where did this word come from and what exactly does it mean?

First, a fact about Ope, it technically is an onomatopoeia. So, it is difficult to find a definition of the word but more or less when it is used. As mentioned earlier, most Midwesterners use it to grab attention to an action. Most notably: Dropping something; making a mistake; prelude to an apology; or grabbing the attention of those close by to scooch past them.

Now for the grey area. Where did this word originate from? There are a couple of guesses. The first theory is the word ‘oops’ was shortened to ‘ope’ as many words get shorter through speech. One example is ‘yes’ to ‘yea’. Another theory is the word could’ve been elongated from ‘oh’ to ‘ope’. An example of this happening in other phrases is ‘no’ to ‘nope’. Both ‘oops’ and ‘oh’ are probable as they grammatically work for phrasing.

Our thoughts: some words are more important to emphasize emotion than have meaning in them alone. Or there has to be an immediate attention grab for a sudden situation. ‘Ope’ is one of those words. In other times, ope becomes a buffer, recognizing that the speaker is in the process of absorbing information. In all cases, ope is a fun and addictive onomatopoeia to say!

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page