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Meaning, Origin, Synonyms, and Antonyms of “Woah”

“Woah” originated as a common misspelling of the word “whoa” whose origin dates as far back as the 17th century (meaning this word is nearly 400 years old!).

Kimberly Ann Potts
Kimberly Ann Potts

“Woah” originated as a common misspelling of the word “whoa” whose origin dates as far back as the 17th century (meaning this word is nearly 400 years old!). Evolving from the simple English word “ho,” whoa is a common interjection used to express great surprise, excitement, shock, pause, or amazement.  Asides from that, it can mean command to a galloping horse or animal to stand still.

“Whoa” is an interjection (abrupt emotive word). This means it can occur as an exclamatory utterance on its own. Some of the synonyms of whoa include: ahhhh, ohhhh, wow, dear me, goodness, hey, jeez, no way, blimey, oh my God. Some of its antonyms include: who cares, whatever.

When Can You Use “Whoa”?

You can use whoa for any of the following:

1. As a command: “whoa” can be used as a command to halt a fast-moving animal, particularly a horse.

2. To express surprise: “whoa” can be used to express surprise, mostly positively.

3. As a pause, especially in conversations. During conversations, whoa can be used to urge your partner to take a pause. “Whoa” could also mean stop.

Now that we have established whoa is the correct spelling, when and how can you use it appropriately? Here are some examples of how “whoa” can be used in a sentence:

Whoa! That is the prettiest flower I have ever seen!.
The lady held fast to her purse and yelled “Whoa” (meaning surprise) at the top of her voice!
My husband took a lot of pictures which at first I thought Whoa! (meaning excitement) He'd make a great photographer!
Whoa, (meaning pause) it is crazy to think of doctoring the financial statements.
When I told the coach I would surpass his records, he just stood there and said “whoa!” (meaning amusement).
Whoa! (meaning pause) It is not as simple as it looks.
Whoa! I had no idea your house is as big as this! (Meaning surprise)
Whoa! Where do you think you're going? (Meaning surprise).
When the car passed by me, I was like whoa! That was so close!
EnglishIdioms & expressions

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