“Whoa” is hardly a new word; it dates back to at least the early 17th century. At that time it was used mostly in shouted form and was intended to garner the attention of someone in the distance. Around the mid-1800s, people began using “whoa” to halt forward-moving horses, and by the latter half of the 20th century it had morphed into an expression for conveying alarm, surprise or advanced interest...From The Good Word blog at Slate. I know by posting this I'll be accused of being a linguistic prescriptivist by some readers, but I think it's interesting.
Yet a simple Google search for “woah” brings up more than 5 million hits... But where “woah” with the “h” at the end has really blown up is on social media. Typing the hashtag “woah” into the search box on Twitter at any given moment results in something on the order of 50 tweets an hour. Remove the number sign from the front of “woah” and the result is more like 50 tweets a minute. (“Woah he got pushed,” “Woah, where did my highlighter go?” and “WOAH! Heat wave! 34 degrees!”)...
But wait. It appears there are even more ways to spell whoa. Some people feel the need to add an extra “h.” That’s right, “whoah.”
05 January 2014
The spelling of "whoa"
Labels: English language