Woah. Whoa. A burning question!

Hold up. I have a pressing question.
You know that word we all use to mean “WAIT A SEC?”
Are you supposed to spell it:

Whoa? or Woah?

I really have no idea. And now that I see them written there, they both look hella wrong. So, uh…. how do you spell it?

20 Responses to Woah. Whoa. A burning question!

  1. Hilary says:

    whoa. I think. …

  2. scoot says:

    someone should write a book to keep track of all the different words and definitions. they could put all the words in alphabetical order and show the different spellings. what will they call it?
    wordopedia, alphabook, spellasaurus-text?

  3. carlyjay says:

    Whoa. It has always been whoa. And it drives me crazy when people misspell it “woah”.

  4. Steve says:

    Whoa is one syllable.

    Woah is two.

    Whoa is the original – y’know, what a cowboy says to their horse to ease up.

    I think the two syllable version is stupid, but it’s one of those 21st century mutations that’s worming its way into the vernacular.

  5. jessperson says:

    Whoa – woh like whoa… Nelly.

    Woah – Bill and Ted, like, woah dude.

    Wha – “Wha’ happened” – dumped due to lack of interest.

    Why do so many question words begin with “w” anyway?
    According to wikipedia, “the interrogative pronouns (those beginning wh in addition to the word how), derive from the Proto-Indo-European root kwo- or kwi, the former of which was reflected in Proto-Germanic as xwa- or hwa-. The Proto-Indo-European root directly originated the Latin and Romance form qu- in words such as Latin quī (“which”) and quando (“when”). In English, the gradual change of voiceless stops into voiceless fricatives (phase 1 of Grimm’s law) during the development of Germanic languages is responsible for “wh-” of interrogatives. Although some varieties of American English and various Scottish dialects still preserve the original sound (i.e. [hw] rather than [w]), the majority only preserve the [w]. The words who, whom, whose, what and why, can all be considered to come from a single Old English word hwā, reflecting its masculine and feminine nominative (hwā), dative (hwām), genitive (hwæs), neuter nominative (hwæt), and instrumental of all genders (hwȳ, later hwī) respectively. Other interrogative words, such as which, how, where, as well as the now archaic whither derive either from compounds (which coming from a compound of hwā [what, who] and lic [like]), or other words from the same root (how deriving from hū).”

    man, I’m such an etymology geek. sorry about that.

  6. carlyjay says:

    “Woah” isn’t even in the dictionary.

    It’s just the way people who can’t spell “Whoa” write the word. They mean the exact same thing and are pronounced the exact same way… one is just spelled incorrectly.

    I always assumed the rampant misspellings were brought in by the same crowd who thinks “lol” is a punctuation mark.

  7. whoa woes says:

    Yes, only ‘whoa’ is correct. jessperson is wrong in saying that in the Bill & Ted context, it is spelled differently. It’s ‘whoa’ in that case too. ‘Woah’ is always wrong. One thing I’ve noticed when looking up common grammatical errors is that often people have made up similar arbitrary distinctions about when to use a particular spelling and when to use a supposed variant, that is actually always wrong. It’s quite odd, but interesting.

    I do find it conceivable that, like most slang words, the common misspelling might become accepted.

  8. smoovebert says:

    i cannot STAND the “woah” spelling. “whoa” all the way.

  9. TheEpictoir says:

    Woah for me all the way. Seems silly to pronounce Wh

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s whoa. :) The etymology geek should have realized it’s one of those words that starts out meaning one thing then expands. You say whoa on your horse for something that you need to stop for, then eventually anytime you see anything giving you pause, you say whoa out of habit and eventually it catches on.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When my son was barely reading, he saw the word “Whoa!” in one of those old text-based adventure games and said out loud: “Wa-hoi-ay!” Now I will never forget how to spell it… W-H-O-A.

  12. Michele1973 says:

    I Agree “W-H-O-A” Is the CORRECT Spelling. However, the English laungage is so confusing “Not to me, but to others” That it Would be Easy to confuse espically seeings the way we were taught to pronounce words when I was in school. Example, we’re taught that Who spells the word WHO, “Like the sound an Owl makes, Lol” So one might think that spelling the word as it should be “WHOA” would sound as tho u were saying WHO-Ahh & Spelling it WOAH with a Long O sound Pronounced “WO-AH” Actually makes more sense. Just a thought to ponder on :) Thanks for letting me ramble on… Hope You ALL Have a Great Day!!! :)

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  14. the kid says:

    When I was in elementary school, my friend and I thought the correct ‘whoa’ spelling was silly.

    (Who-ah) whoa…wow, im sorry but the word’s aesthetics/spelling are counterintuitive to how it sounds when pronounced.

    say Oh….it ends in an -ah sound just subtley as it rolls off the tongue like the letter ‘O’ by its lonesome…now say Oah

    now add W in front..woah…..kthx I think (WHO-AH) whoa should be spelled differently language is subjective but the general consensus of the popluation subcsribes to the oft-used nomenclature.

  15. Curtiscews says:


  16. Sophie Selena Fletcher says:

    I’m pretty sure its woah… whoa is like w-who-a it doesn’t sound right. Plus if you Google lyrics with woah in it, it will come up as woah on there. Hope I could help 11 years later lmao.

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