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

Do you know the definition of ugh? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word ugh, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word ugh mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Your Dictionary in addition to American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word ugh is an interjection that is used to indicate the sound of a grunt or cough. This onomatopoeic exclamation is used to express disgust, tiredness, aversion, repugnance, annoyance, horror or boredom. This negative word is always used to express a negative emotion, and can be exaggerated in text messages or other forms of text based conversation such as “ughhh” “ughh” “uggh” or “ugghh.” This is used in the UK and America. The pronunciation of ugh is ʊx or ʌx.

Many different languages also use words that mean the same thing as the English translation of ugh. These all imply a sort of recoil or shudder in frustration or disgust. Knowing the shorthand and onomatopoeias that are used in different large countries are useful if you are going to be traveling abroad or communicating with a person who does not speak English as a first language. This list of translations of ugh is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Welsh: ych‎
  •  Greek: αχ‎
  •  Hebrew: אִיכְס‎ (ikhs), פוּי‎ (fui)
  •  German: igitt‎, pfui‎
  •  Spanish: puf‎, guácala‎ (Mexico)
  •  Persian: ایش‎
  •  Japanese: うっ‎ (u’), わっ‎ (wa’), げ‎ (ge), ゲ‎ (ge), げっ‎ (ge’), ゲッ‎ (ge’))
  •  Malay: ee‎
  •  Italian: che schifo‎
  •  Romanian: câh‎
  •  Turkish: ıı‎
  •  Russian: фу‎, тьфу‎, фе‎, фи‎ (aristocratic), бе‎
  •  Mandarin: 惡心‎, 恶心‎ (ěxin), (strong, offensive) 呸‎ (pēi), 啐‎ (cuì), 哎呀‎ (āiyā), 哎‎ (āi), 唉‎ (ài)
  •  Portuguese: agh‎
  •  Finnish: hyh‎
  •  Swedish: usch‎
  •  French: beurk‎
  •  Dutch: bah‎
  •  Esperanto: aĉ‎
  •  Arabic: يَع‎

According to The Free Dictionary, the word ugh can also be used as an acronym, as in UGH. If you are using one of these acronyms over text, you should make sure that you provide the proper context. You would not want someone thinking that you are simply trying to be extra-emphatic by using an all-caps UGH. Make sure that you clarify whether you are using the abbreviation or the interjection. 

  •   Under Grand Hotel (manga series)
  •   Ultimate Galactic Hunt (Star Wars)
  •   Urinary Growth Hormone
  •   Uveitis Glaucoma Hyphema Syndrome (ophthalmological malady)
  •   Ukulele Guild of Hawaii
  •   University of Guelph-Humber (Toronto, Canada) 

What is the origin of the word ugh?

According to Etymonline, the word ugh has been used since 1765 as an imitative of the sound of a cough. It has been used since 1822 as an interjection of disgust or boredom. This was originally written as ough in the 1560s Middle English.

How can ugh be used in a sentence?

The word ugh can be used in many ways in the English language. This is a very casual term, so it should not be used in formal or professional settings. Save this for when you’re communicating with friends or family. Do not use this word with a boss or colleague. Using words in a sentence in a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of ugh.

The kids brought various dishes to teacher night, from soft dumplings to crunchy yugandian rice done Mr Hamalton’s way. However, Elise Criss’s low-cal dish served with a sauce containing chunks of fruit elicited an “ugh” from the other children. 

Ugh. I got killer cramps from whatever I ate off that room service menu. I’ve been throwing up all night, and it’s going to be bad enough tomorrow night. I just wanted to enjoy my vacation, and now I’m curled up cold and clammy on the bathroom floor of a hotel room.

Ugh. The stray dog with gray fur is flashing his yellow teeth at me through the window. That dog needs some serious veterinary help. Do you think it was dumped or abandoned?

How many times do I have to tell people how to read a bar graph?! It’s a basic part of your job! Longer bars mean higher total views. Shorter bars mean lower total views. It’s basic stuff, ugh! 

Ugh, I’m so sick of telling my tia that we’re changing our surnames to a hyphenated version. She wouldn’t think it was so weird if I was marrying a man, so what’s the difference? She should just hop in her ugly station wagon and go home if she’s not going to support my decision. She can go cry in her soup, she gave off a horrible initial impression.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word ugh?

There are plenty of different interjections that can be used in place of the word ugh. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. These are useful to know if you are trying not to repeat yourself or if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms of ugh is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  jeepers
  •  ah
  •  egad
  •  hurrah
  •  alas
  •  amen
  •  whoopee
  •  shucks
  •  golly
  •  ahem
  •  er
  •  wow
  •  exclamation
  •  ouch
  •  oh
  •  um
  •  hey
  •  phooey
  •  phew
  •  boo
  •  hello
  •  rah
  •  oops
  •  huh
  •  pooh
  •  psst
  •  hooray

Overall, the word ugh means an expression of disappointment or expression of frustration and exclamation of disgust. This utterance is an interjection and onomatopoeia, used to imitate the sound of a grunt or cough. Ugh has been used since Middle English. Try making flashcards or a quiz to remember this shorthand slang term!


  1. UGH – What does UGH stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  2. ugh | Origin and meaning of ugh | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. Ugh | Definition of Ugh by Merriam-Webster 
  4. Ugh Meaning | Best 4 Definitions of Ugh | Your Dictionary 
  5. ugh: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  6. UGH Synonyms: 27 Synonyms & Antonyms for UGH | Thesaurus