The Meaning of DOA: What It Is and How To Use It

Ever wondered what DOA stands for? This guide will give you all of the info you need on the abbreviation DOA, including its meaning, usage, sentence examples, and more!

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What does the acronym DOA stand for?

According to the English Dictionary, the definition of DOA is “dead on arrival.” This is used in law enforcement and hospitals to describe victims who are pronounced dead before arriving at the hospital, or who are pronounced dead at the scene of a crime. However, this can also be used as a slang term figuratively to mean a hopeless situation or something that has been doomed from the start. This slang term can be used in text messaging on Android or iPhone, as well as on social media sites.

DOA is an initialism, which means that each individual letter is pronounced on its own. Therefore, DOA is pronounced “dee-oh-ey” and not “doh-uh.” According to The Free Dictionary, DOA also has a plethora of other meanings. These may be less common or well known than the meaning “dead on arrival,” so one should exercise caution when using these other meanings and assume the listener thinks they mean “dead on arrival.”

  • Dead or Alive
  • Death of Autotune (Jay-Z song)
  • Division of Administration
  • Day of Application
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Defective on Arrival
  • Damaged on Arrival
  • Distributed Objects and Applications
  • Drug of Abuse
  • Department of Aviation
  • Date of Accident
  • Date of Availability
  • Date of Arrival
  • Duration of Action
  • Dean of Academics
  • Denial of Access
  • Dawn of Aces
  • Date of Appointment
  • Dead-On Alignment
  • Dictionary of Acronyms
  • Degree of Angle
  • Deposit Only Account
  • Desired Order of Arrival
  • Direction of Arrival
  • Driver of Automobile
  • Department of Appeals

What is the origin of the acronym DOA?

Dictionary states that the acronym DOA initially rose to popularity in the 1920s and 30s to describe a victim who was already dead by the time the first responders arrived. This is used by first responders, police officers, EMTs, and hospital workers.

Since then, DOA has gained figurative meaning. While first responders do still use this phrase, it is commonly used in a figurative sense. People use it for dramatic effect to describe things that are hopeless or never stood a chance. In this case, the thing being described was metaphorically dead before it started. It is also used in politics to describe bills and proposals that never had a chance of passing.

Where is DOA seen in popular culture?

The first place DOA was seen in popular culture was the film D.O.A., which was released in 1949. According to IMDb, the film was directed by Rudolph Maté. It was written by Russel Rouse and Clarence Greene, and follows the story of Frank Bigelow who is told he has been poisoned and only has days to live. In the following days, he tries to find out who killed him and why. The film stars Edmond O’Brien and Pamela Britton.

Since then, there have been multiple films released that make reference to the term DOA. In 2006, the film DOA: Dead or Alive was released. This film was directed by Corey Yuen and written by J.F. Lawton and Adam Gross. It stars Jaime Pressly and Devon Aoki. According to IMDb, the film follows a group of the world’s best fighters who are invited to an invitational martial arts contest called DOA. The female fighters must work together to uncover the secrets that the tournament’s organizer is hiding.

“D.O.A.” is also a song by the Foo Fighters. The song was released on their 2005 album In Your Honor. According to Song Facts, they filmed the music video for the song in a gravity-defying rotating room. This was the second single released off of In Your Honor

The most famous place one can see the phrase DOA in popular culture is in the theme song of the show Friends. According to Fandom, Friends is an American sitcom about six friends living in Manhattan. The show ran for ten seasons from 1994-2004. The show stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The show’s theme song is entitled “I’ll Be There For You” and is performed by The Remembrandts. The song’s lyrics are as follows, according to Fandom.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way

Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear

When it hasn’t been your day, your week

Your month, or even your year, but

I’ll be there for you (When the rain starts to pour)

I’ll be there for you (Like I’ve been there before)

I’ll be there for you (‘Cause you’re there for me too)

How can DOA be used in a sentence?

In common speech, DOA is most often used figuratively. In the below example, it is used as such. Kevin and Pat are discussing Kevin’s breakup with his girlfriend, whom he cheated on.

Pat: So Marisa ended things?

Kevin: Yeah, she found out about what I did in Cancun. I felt so horrible. I walked in and saw her face, and knew I was DOA.

Pat: Sorry, dude.

Kevin: It’s my own fault. I made a mistake and should have owned up to it, and I didn’t. She deserved better.

What are synonyms for the acronym DOA?

In the medical field, there is one other acronym that means the same thing as DOA, which is “BID.” This stands for “brought in dead,” according to Acronym Finder. However, there are numerous other synonyms for dead in the English language, listed below from Thesaurus.

  • Deceased
  • Lifeless
  • Late
  • Departed
  • Stiff
  • Expires
  • Breathless
  • Cadaverous
  • Inanimate
  • Inert
  • Gone
  • Offed
  • Passed away
  • Perished
  • Pushing up daisies
  • Spiritless
  • Resting in peace