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Back in the day when I was in Hamburg (ca. early 1980s), my girlfriend would say something like au-haue which meant "oh, wow" or "oh my." Was I imagining that? I've never heard or seen it since. Otherwise, Hamburgers seem to speak very understandable Hochdeutsch.

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  • Could it have been auweia Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 16:43
  • No, distinctly auhaue. As in au hauen.
    – 147pm
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 19:11
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    I thought of the Werner comic book "Ouhauerha!", but that was only published in 1992. Werner himself has been around since 1978. But it could very well be that "Ouhauerha" (or something similar) was in use in northern Germany for quite some time before making it into the written language. Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 21:17
  • Werner Flaschbier? That might have been it. She was a WF fan.
    – 147pm
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 22:21

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I know it in a slightly different spelling Au haua ha or also as an enhancement in the form au haua haua ha and I think it stands colloquially for what a bummer - oh my goodness.

Regionally, I place the slang in northern Germany with the coast of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea (sailors?). Unfortunately, I haven't found a source.

For fun see and hear also the video clip

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