In the current century, woah has continued to grow in prevalence. In this post, I will discuss the proper spelling and common misspellings of this word and give a brief outline of its history. Is a particular spelling regarded as an error by the people whose jobs it is to consider such things? [read whoa] –. Everyone is familiar with this popular exclamation, but not everyone is so familiar with its spelling. Whoa. There is only one correct spelling of whoa, but there are a few misspellings. It has been used as a noun, for stop, moderation, bounds." It's always been more common in non-US English sources, but we've spotted it in stateside magazines like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and U.S. News & World Report, and in the nation's best newspapers, including The Denver Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, and The Kansas City Star. Furthermore, words like whoa are particularly vulnerable to misspellings by nature. Glamor or Glamour – What’s the Difference? Words We're Watching talks about words we are increasingly seeing in use but that have not yet met our criteria for entry. (Definition of whoa from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press) How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe... Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Looking at the entry for whoa in the historical Oxford English Dictionary, which includes examples tracing the word from its earliest use and into the current century, we see a variety of spellings employed: whoo, who, whoe, woyh, whoh, wo, woo, woa, and, with the first example from a 1790 source identified only as Merry Companion, woah. Aside from its use with horses, whoa is a popular exclamation used to express surprise, amazement, or great pleasure. Is it woah or whoa? This command is especially associated with its use to get a horse to stop or slow down. Animals don't speak, but people speak to them, and the words people use to speak to animals qualify for dictionary entry if there's enough print evidence of those words being used. This interjection means “stop.” You might use it as a command to stop a galloping horse. Part of what is going on with the story of woah and whoa is that informal interjectional uses are making it into published, edited text far more frequently than they used to. In the future, our answer might be different. If it isn’t regularly seen in text, the spelling is likely to vary quite a bit, as writers aren’t sure how to spell whoa themselves. But is it an established variant? “Whoa” predates “Woah” by about ten years. Build a city of skyscrapers—one synonym at a time. How and whoa both have the ho next to each other. Whoa is an interjection, meaning it’s typically used by itself outside of a sentence… When you are dealing with a word that is transmitted primarily through oral communications, such as an exclamation, spelling often varies, so let’s set the record straight. Whistleblower changes tune, again, president-elect Not so fast. Webster had included ho too, categorizing it as an exclamation, and defining it as "a word used by teamsters, to stop their teams. What does whoa mean? Collins English Dictionary. This word is almost 400 years old; why the uptick now? In the late 19th century, the word developed its more common modern use (sense 2 above), as in "Whoa, that's interesting.". hold!," and the notes "a word used by teamsters in stopping their teams" and "written also whoa." The spelling variants we include in our dictionaries are, like the words and their definitions, based on evidence, and primarily on evidence as found in published, edited text. “Woah” is the favored spelling in the UK, while both spellings are in common use … But, (perhaps) interestingly, it depends on which English speaking country you live in as to which is considered “standard”. Definition of whoa. Since the 1990s especially, woah has been making inroads into formerly whoa-exclusive territory, with the Lexis-Nexis "All English Language News" database showing woah start to appear in news transcripts and a few major newspapers as the century reached its close. Whoa comes from the word ho, which first came into Middle English as a command to slow down or draw your horse to a stop. You can even use it when something unexpected or amazing gives you pause. It’s whoa. The first thing we must keep in mind when speaking of an “uptick” or a “rise” in a misspelling of any word is a sense of perspective. Woah is not yet in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as an official spelling variant of whoa, but its usage has increased dramatically in the current century. Dialogue: What’s the Difference? Home » Whoa or Woah: What’s the Difference? Biden projected 46th President. Is it time to accept 'woah' as an acceptable spelling of 'whoa'? He thought, “Whoa, that looks like Billy the Kid.” –, “The realization that I could have easily died – that was like woah [read whoa], I’m 16, that’s crazy to think about,” Haugh said. It’s the only spelling in wide use. If you can remember that the “h” and the “o” need to be next to each other, you will be set. But on to woah: the story starts with farm animals. Whoa comes from the word ho, which first came into Middle English as a command to slow down or draw your horse to a stop. Remember this simple trick and you will be set. What is the Difference Between Whoa and Woah? 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. This last meaning probably gave rise to the slang expression “like whoa.” We can't scan the Facebook threads of millions of speakers of English for variant spellings, and most of you likely care more about whether a particular spelling has met the editorial standards of the likes of Forbes and The Atlantic than those of your cousin Steve. Delivered to your inbox! It looks like woah is just occasionally slipping in. Ho no longer carries this meaning commonly enough to be included in this dictionary, but an entry for injectional use still exists: "used especially to attract attention to something specified," as in "land ho. Plus, at the end, I will give a tip to remember the correct spelling: whoa or woah? In the late 20th century, though, that started to change. Whoa, W-H-O-A, is the correct spelling of this word and dates back to at least the 17th century. While woah is about as common as whoa was at the end of the 20th century, whoa is by some estimations To say that whoa is the preferred spelling would be an understatement. Whoa is also used as a command to stop. ", Ho died out, and whoa stepped in—and long before the time of spelling standardization. All of this said, there is no real evidence to suggest widespread increase in the misuse of whoa. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers. "Whoa" is still much more common however, so only time will tell if this spelling variant is accepted. Learn a new word every day. Wellbeing or Well-Being – Which is Correct? This article is an investigation of just that. Some time ago, the ACLU asked us to weigh in on something: We don't include that as a variant, but we're pretty sure you still have the right to say it. It is true that this graph only deals with books; it doesn’t take into account online newspapers and magazines, blogs, social media, etc., which are where the errors most likely take place. The spelling woah has likely been simmering since the late 18th century, mostly not making it into published works. Plus, the increase that we do see can probably be explained away by the huge increase in use of whoa overall. Sometime around the year 1620, the spelling evolved into what we now use today, whoa. Check out words from the year you were born and more! Catsup vs. Ketchup: What’s the Difference? https://t.co/5iJqqQFHpM. People do misspell it online and occasionally in print, but the graph above clearly shows the spelling is one-sided in edited, professional writing. So, why the uptick in misspellings of whoa? a command used esp to horses to stop or slow down. As you can clearly see, the “increase” in the two misspelling is so negligible that it hardly registers a blip on the screen. 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