‘Oh Really’: Meaning, Definition, How To Reply

By Shanea Patterson, updated on April 4, 2023

Have you heard someone say ‘Oh really’ and wondered what they meant? What does this expression mean, and what are some ways you can reply?

  • ‘Oh really’ is used to indicate interest, surprise, or irritation. It’s commonly used sarcastically when someone has absolutely no interest in something. But it can also be used to express disbelief.

What Does ‘Oh Really’ Mean?

‘Oh really’ is an expression used to express interest, surprise, or irritation. A lot of people use the phrase sarcastically these days to imply a lack of interest in something someone says.

Used to Express Interest

The expression is mainly used to express interest in something.

For example:

  • If someone tells you they love Lizzo and wants to go to a concert sometime soon, if you’re also a Lizzo fan, you might express your interest in going to the concert by saying:

“Oh really? When?”

They might reply by telling you the details about the date, time, and location of the concert.

Used to Express Surprise

‘Oh really’ is also used to express surprise.

For example, if someone tells you they just won a trip to Jamaica, you might say:

“Oh really?”

If you’re especially interested, you might ask some follow-up questions, such as when the trip will be and how long the trip will last.

Used to Express Irritation or Sarcastically

Finally, ‘oh really’ can also be used to express irritation or be used sarcastically.

For example, if you accidentally blurt out a secret that someone else doesn’t know, they might angrily say:

‘Oh, really? I didn’t know that.’

But it can also be used sarcastically.

For example:

  • If a 10-year-old tells you they did a stunt on their bike, you might reply with an ‘oh really’ even though you’re not the least bit interested.

Used to Express Disbelief

‘Oh really’ can also be used to express disbelief.

For example, if you tell someone you climbed Mount Everest, they might not believe you and say:

‘Oh really?’ (hard emphasis on the ‘really’)

Examples of ‘Oh Really’ in Sentences 

Are you wondering how to use ‘hope everything is going well’ in a sentence?

Take a look at some examples:

  • Oh really? Mark told you that you looked good in that color. Clearly, he either doesn’t pay attention, or he doesn’t care.
  • There wasn’t much I could say in response to my niece’s statement except, ‘Oh really?’ She had just told me that she was joining the army.
  • When I overheard my daughter telling her friend that she skipped math class, the first thing I said was, ‘Oh really?’ She’s in so much trouble.
  • After my son told me he made the honor roll, I responded with, ‘Oh really? That’s great, sweetheart.’ I told him we could go out to eat to celebrate at his favorite restaurant.
  • When my sister told me our estranged cousin sent me a message saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ my first thought was, ‘Oh really?’ She knows she needs to apologize to everyone in the family.
  • When the teacher told me my daughter was misbehaving in school, I said, ‘Oh really? Thanks for letting me know.’ I’ll have to have a talk with her when I get back home.
  • Every time I tell my brother about something cool I did, all he says is, ‘Oh really?’ I’m starting to think he doesn’t really care.
  • When my best friend told me he bought me tickets to the next Knicks game, I didn’t believe him, so I said, ‘Oh really? Show me the tickets.’ And he actually showed me!

How to Respond to ‘Oh Really’

There are several ways you can respond to ‘Oh really.’ When someone says ‘Oh really’ as a sign of interest, you can reply with, ‘Yes,’ and then go on to further explain what you want to say.

If someone says ‘Oh really’ in surprise:

  • A response might not be needed because it’s not actually meant to be responded to.

However, if someone says, ‘Oh really’ as irritation:

  • You might want to respond and explain yourself.
  • Explain the situation to the person and let them know your reasons for doing what you did or saying what you said.

If someone says ‘Oh really’ sarcastically:

  • No response is needed.
  • It usually means they’re not interested in what you’re doing and you should probably just tell someone else your news.

Other Ways to Say ‘Oh Really’

In the English language, there are lots of ways to say lots of things. Let’s see some examples of other ways to say, ‘Oh really.’

  • Oh yeah?
  • Really?
  • Yeah right
  • Seriously?
  • No kidding
  • No way
  • You don’t say
  • Is that so?
  • You think?
  • Duh
  • Well duh
  • Are you kidding me?
  • Is that a fact?
  • Are you joking?
  • Well, what do you know?
  • Are you for real?
  • Well, blow me down with a feather
  • Wow, that’s great!
  • No shit, Sherlock!
  • Go on!
  • Right on!
  • Nice!
  • Good shit!
  • Go off! (slang)
  • Noooo!
  • That’s amazing!
  • That’s so good!
  • I don’t believe you
  • You can’t be serious
  • Shut up!
  • Get out!
  • Get out of here!
  • You’ve got to be kidding me.
  • What the…?
  • Well, I never
  • Strike me pink
  • There’s the surprise of the century
  • Unbelievable!
  • For real?
  • Are you for real?
  • Cap (slang)
  • You’re capping (slang)
  • That’s cap (slang)
  • No cap (slang)
  • On god? (slang)
  • Word? (slang)

Final Thoughts on ‘Oh Really’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘Oh really’ is used to indicate interest, surprise, or irritation. It’s commonly used sarcastically when someone has absolutely no interest in something. But it can also be used to express disbelief.

If you ever forget the meaning and need to come back, feel free to do so. We’ve also got a ton of other content on other idioms you might see as you’re learning this complex language. Feel free to check it out anytime.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.