- (UK) IPA: /wəʊ/, X-SAMPA: /w@U/ or IPA: /ʍəʊ/, X-SAMPA: /W@U/
- (US) enPR: wō, IPA: /woʊ/, X-SAMPA: /woU/ or enPR: hwō, IPA: /ʍoʊ/, X-SAMPA: /WoU/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -əʊ
- Homophone: woe (in accents with the wine-whine merger)
Whoa (c. 1843) is a variant of woa (c. 1840), itself a variant of wo (c. 1787), from who (c. 1450), ultimately from Middle English ho, hoo (interjection), probably from Old Norse hó! (interjection, also, a shepherd's call). Compare German ho, Old French ho ! (“hold!, halt!”).
- stop (especially when commanding a horse or imitative thereof); calm down; slow down.
- Whoa, Nelly!
- An expression of surprise.
- Whoa, are you serious?
Another alternate spelling from woa, woah (c. 1856), is common, especially on the internet.