[hwoo ps, hwoops, woo ps, woops]


(used to express surprise, mild embarrassment, etc., or as a casual apology.)

Origin of whoops

whoop + -s as in oops


[hoop, hoo p; especially for 1, 3, 4, 6–12 hwoop, hwoo p, woop, woo p]


a loud cry or shout, as of excitement or joy.
the sound made by a person suffering from whooping cough.

verb (used without object)

to utter a loud cry or shout in expressing enthusiasm, excitement, etc.
to cry as an owl, crane, or certain other birds.
to make the characteristic sound accompanying the deep intake of air following a series of coughs in whooping cough.

verb (used with object)

to utter with or as if with a whoop.
to whoop to or at.
to call, urge, pursue, or drive with whoops: to whoop dogs on.


(used as a cry to attract attention from afar, or to show excitement, encouragement, enthusiasm, etc.)

Verb Phrases

whoop up, Informal. to promote or praise; extol: a class reunion where they whoop up the good old days.

Origin of whoop

1350–1400; Middle English whopen, Old English hwōpan to threaten; cognate with Gothic hwopan to boast
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whoops

Contemporary Examples of whoops

Historical Examples of whoops

  • I don't think she ever cared two whoops for me, to tell you the truth.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • For a long time we had ceased to hear the mate's whoops and yells.


    Joseph Conrad

  • We grew uneasy, and then he said two whoops might be heard from his cabin.

  • High-pitched Indians whoops sent a new chill through Nicole.


    Robert Shea

  • He listened to the whoops and barks in an interval between shots.

British Dictionary definitions for whoops



an exclamation of surprise, as when a person falls over, or of apology



to utter (speech) with loud cries, as of enthusiasm or excitement
med to cough convulsively with a crowing sound made at each inspiration
(of certain birds) to utter (a hooting cry)
(tr) to urge on or call with or as if with whoops
whoop it up (wʊp, wuːp) informal
  1. to indulge in a noisy celebration
  2. USto arouse enthusiasm


a loud cry, esp one expressing enthusiasm or excitement
med the convulsive crowing sound made during a paroxysm of whooping cough
not worth a whoop informal worthless
See also whoops

Word Origin for whoop

C14: 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 whoops

exclamation of dismay, 1925; see oops.



mid-14c., houpen, partly imitative, partly from Old French houper "to cry out," also imitative. It is attested as an interjection from at least mid-15c. The noun is recorded from c.1600. Extended form whoopee is attested from 1845, originally American English; whoopee cushion is attested from 1960. Phrase whoop it up "create a disturbance" is recorded from 1884. Expression whoop-de-do is recorded from 1929. Whooping cough (1739) is now the prevalent spelling of hooping cough; whooping crane is recorded from 1791.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for whoops


[hōōp, wōōp]


The paroxysmal gasp characteristic of whooping cough.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.