- (UK) IPA(key): /wəʊ/ or IPA(key): /ʍəʊ/
- (US) enPR: wō, IPA(key): /woʊ/ or enPR: hwō, IPA(key): /ʍoʊ/
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?
An alternative spelling, woah (c. 1856), is common but may be considered an error.
- Whoa! Woah?! Whoah. How an old exclamation became the Internet’s most variously spelled word., Matthew J.X. Malady, Slate