One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In southern India and Sri Lanka, expressing distress, regret, or grief; ‘Oh no!’, ‘Oh dear!’.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature. From (i) Sinhala ayiyō.
(in southern India and Sri Lanka) used to express distress, regret, or grief.‘aiyo, why do things like this always happen to me?’
From Sinhala and Tamil: imitative.
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