Popular music is a good entry into language learning and many usages naturally reflect prose (non-lyric) usages. David Bowie sings "my my" in the song Beauty and the Beast and Ariana Grande sings "my my my my my..." in the song called Adore by Cashmere Cat, featuring Ariana Grande.

This got me thinking about prose uses of my as an exclamation. As in

My, it's a beautiful day.

But what about repeated use of my, as in

My my, look who's here.

What does repeated use of my mean? Is it different from single use?

Does this come from oh my god or oh my?


1 Answer 1


My my is, according to Cambridge dictionary, a variation of my oh my.

They are both interjections expressing surprise, pleasure, admiration, even sarcasm...

Oxford English Dictionary says that my (not repeated) is used vocatively

in exclamatory phrases, as my eye!, my God!, my gracious!, my oath!, my stars!, my word!, etc

and that it, and oh, my!, is used when

Expressing surprise or admiration.

1875 ‘Mark Twain’ in Atlantic Monthly Aug. 195/2 My, what a race I've had!

and the same for

reduplicated forms, as my, my! and my oh my!, etc.

1986 New Yorker 26 May 77/2 My my and here I am out where I can't even get a case of Scotch to celebrate.

The reduplicated form shows that the sound of words is important in conveying meaning. And reduplicated prose forms carry a quality that is not far from song-like usage, or singing itself.

So this very basic meaning of my and my my is the starting point for uses in actual song.

In addition, The Urban Dictionary gives a highly approved definition of mymy as

the most outrageous, randomest , cutest chick ever. she may confuse you, but it can amaze you how she can always make you smile and forgive.

I'm sad, I need mymy.

  • The Urban Dictionary entry quoted is irrelevant here. Even if it was relevant, when people write about names or people on UD, it's usually just someone's opinion and means nothing as far as actual connotations or meanings of the name goes.
    – Laurel
    Jan 12, 2019 at 3:00

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