Let’s start out the year with some interjections, because sometimes you just have to interject.
Yippee showed up in 1920, an expression of exultation. It may have come from hip (as in hip hip hooray).
Dern (1830) & durn (1835) are American attempts to avoid the “swear word” darn, which was a 1781 American attempt to avoid the “swear word” damn. In popular usage, they all are an expression of anger, irritation, or contempt. Linguists believe darn may be an abbreviation of eternal damnation (mispronounced ‘tarnal damnation). If so, it’s related to the 1784 American interjection tarnation.
Wow showed up from Scotland in 1510, & continues to express a state of delight or amazement. Its source is unclear.
Ahem appeared in 1763, a lengthened version of the earlier hem, imitative of clearing of the throat. Ahem continues to be an expression of disapproval, embarrassment or an attempt to get others’ attention.
Oh is a one-interjection-fits-all-emotions sort of interjection from the 1530s. Existing in many Indo-European languages, oh can be used to express nearly any emotion. This interjection gave birth to oh boy in 1910, oh baby in 1918, & oh yeah in 1924.
Hey has been part of the language since 1200. Like oh, hey has many meanings. Some include an expression of derision, challenge, greeting, pleasure, surprise, warning, & anger.
Mercy has been around as an English interjection since 1300. Though it originally was a shortening of may God have mercy, as a modern interjection mercy can express surprise, annoyance, fear, or thankfulness.
Man has been used as an English interjection since the 1400s, originally expressing impatience, surprise, or emphasis, & today — like the much-maligned interjection dude — man can mean almost anything.
English is rife with interjections. If you’ve got a favorite “fit-to-print” interjection I missed in this very short list, please suggest it in the comments section.