[ hwoh, woh ]
/ ʰwoʊ, woʊ /


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

British Dictionary definitions for whoa


/ (wəʊ) /


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 As an expression of delight or surprise (1980s) it has gradually superseded wow, which was very popular 1960s.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