why oh why

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why oh why

  1. A strengthened form of why, as used in questions.
  2. (UK, sometimes used attributively) A statement of exasperation associated with reactionary viewpoints.
    • 1993, New Statesman Society:
      Are these terrible figures greeted by hysterical "why-oh-why?" letters to the Times demanding a huge shift in resources from road-building to rail-modernisation?
    • 2005, Fred Sedgwick, How to Teach with a Hangover: A Practical Guide to Overcoming Classroom Crises, A&C Black, →ISBN, page 94:
      Indeed, a right-wing paper is hardly ready for press without a why-oh-why article on children's failures to identify verbs and nouns.
    • 2006, Ben Summerskill, The Way We Are Now: Gay and Lesbian Lives in the 21st Century, A&C Black, →ISBN, page 7:
      To mark the introduction of civil partnership in Britain, the Daily Telegraph duly featured a bitter polemic from 'Why-oh-Why' columnist Ferdinand Mount.
    • 2009, Andrew Marr, My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism, Pan Macmillan, →ISBN, page 27:
      David Starkey and John Casey, a donnish don from Cambridge who cranks out 'why, oh why?' hand-wringing pieces for the Daily Mail, are modern equivalents.
    • 2012, Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Random House, →ISBN, page 3:
      ... the British health system, once the best in the world, was disintegrating in a welter of underfunding, staff shortages and collapsing morale. A hand-wringing why-oh-why piece appeared in the Daily Mail, an internal investigation was ordered.