[hwoh, woh]


stop! (used especially to horses).

Origin of whoa

First recorded in 1615–25; dialectal variant of ho2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whoa

Contemporary Examples of whoa

Historical Examples of whoa

  • When we got where the critter's legs touched bottom, Becky remarks: "Whoa!"

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Colonel Briggs, as his men called him, suddenly shouted “Whoa!”

  • Whoa, Pardner,” sang out Rhodes, back of them as he slid out of the saddle.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • "Whoa, boy," he soothed, patting the animal gently on the neck.

  • But just as we had got under it, Addison said, "Whoa," and old Sol stopped short.

    When Life Was Young

    C. A. Stephens

British Dictionary definitions for whoa



a command used esp to horses to stop or slow down

Word Origin for whoa

C19: variant of ho 1
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 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 As an expression of delight or surprise (1980s) it has gradually superseded wow, which was very popular 1960s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper