Whoa! Woah? Who…

We have 12 days before we leave, so things are a little mad around here, but I came across something last night I thought I’d talk about briefly.  As I have become familiar with web comics recently, I keep seeing the word “Woah!”  It has always irritated me because it is so common to see it amongst the younger generation.  When I was growing up, it was always spelled “Whoa!”

Last night I complained about it again to Jamey and Sarah (my son and daughter-in-law), and Sarah looked it up on her phone.  I never heard what source she was using, but she said that “woah” is a British spelling.  I tried to look it up tonight, and I found a new website called Online Etymology Dictionary.  Here is what they have to say about the history of the word “whoa”:  1620s, a cry to call attention from a distance, a variant of “who”. As a command to stop a horse, it is attested from 1843, a variant of “ho”. As an expression of delight or surprise (1980s) it has gradually superseded “wow”, which was very popular 1960s.

Do you have any pet peeves related to current usage or spelling of words you learned when you were young?  What sources do you check when you have a question about a word?  Write a comment below.

One thought on “Whoa! Woah? Who…

  1. I passionately hate the word “signage”. I can’t think of a single instance where the “word” is used which wouldn’t be better served by using sign instead.
    However, language, especially a language that’s still being spoken, is fluid and morphs alongside and within culture. I knew I was fighting a losing battle against signage when I discovered it as an entry in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. Gotta know when hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *