or wa-wa

[ wah-wah ]
/ ˈwɑˌwɑ /


producing a muted, bawling sound like that of a trumpet with the hand moved momentarily over the bell: a wah-wah effect on a synthesizer; a guitar with a wah-wah pedal.


a sound or effect like the muted sound of a trumpet, especially in music.
an electronic device or attachment to produce such a sound, often used with an electric guitar.

Nearby words

  1. wagonette,
  2. wagonload,
  3. wagram,
  4. wagtail,
  5. wagyu,
  6. wahabi,
  7. wahabite,
  8. wahhabi,
  9. wahhabism,
  10. wahiawa

Origin of wah-wah

First recorded in 1925–30; imitative


[ wah-wah ]
/ ˈwɑˌwɑ /


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wawa

  • By the way, the reports that he found a Wawa touch-screen menu “amazing” are misleading.

  • (spoiled); and poor Wawa puckered up his little rosy mouth, and began to cry most piteously.

    Funny Little Socks|Sarah. L. Barrow
  • Next day he arrived before the walls of Wawa, in the neighbourhood of the far-famed river.

    Great African Travellers|W.H.G. Kingston
  • Then there must be a great “wawa,” or discussion by the Indians.

    The Columbia River|William Denison Lyman

British Dictionary definitions for wawa


/ (ˈwɑːˌwɑː) Canadian West coast slang /


speech; language


(intr) to speak

Word Origin for wawa

C19: from Chinook Jargon; probably of imitative origin


Canadian a variant of wavey


/ (ˈwɑːˌwɑː) /


the sound made by a trumpet, cornet, etc, when the bell is alternately covered and uncovered: much used in jazz
an electronic attachment for an electric guitar, etc, that simulates this effect

Word Origin for wah-wah

C20: of imitative origin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for wawa


1926, in jazz slang, in reference to the effect on brass instruments made by manipulating the mute; of imitative origin. Later also in reference to an electric guitar effect. As an imitation of the sound of a baby crying, it is recorded from 1938. Wah-wah pedal is recorded from 1969. Cf. Chinook jargon wawa "talk, speak, call, ask, sermon, language;" Cree (Algonquian) wehwew "goose," Lenape (Algonquian) wava "snow goose," all probably of imitative origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper