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!
    • 2007, Ron Liebman, Death by Rodrigo, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781416535270, page 134:
      I can see Mickie getting hot, I'm about to grab his arm, hold him back, say, Whoa, whoa, Mick, not here, it ain't worth it what happened inside just now.
  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]