whoa

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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!).

Interjection[edit]

whoa

  1. Stop (especially when commanding a horse or imitative thereof); calm down; slow down.
    Whoa, Nelly!
  2. An expression of surprise.
    Whoa, are you serious?
  3. Used as a meaningless filler in song lyrics.
    • 2003, "Weird Al" Yankovic, eBay (song)
      I am the type who is liable to snipe you
      With two seconds left to go, whoa.
    • 2010, Bruce Springsteen, It's a Shame
      And oh whoa girl, it's a shame.
      Oh whoa girl, it's a doggone shame.

Usage notes[edit]

An alternative spelling, woah (c. 1856), is common but may be considered an error.

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]