verb (used with object)
  1. to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.
  2. to seek to win: to woo fame.
  3. to invite (consequences, whether good or bad) by one's own action; court: to woo one's own destruction.
  4. to seek to persuade (a person, group, etc.), as to do something; solicit; importune.
verb (used without object)
  1. to seek the affection or love of someone, usually a woman; court: He was reminded of his youth when he went wooing.
  2. to solicit favor or approval; entreat: Further attempts to woo proved useless.

Origin of woo

before 1050; Middle English wowe, Old English wōgian
Related formswoo·er, nounwoo·ing·ly, adverbun·wooed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for woos

Contemporary Examples of woos

  • He woos Alexandra, but he is rebuffed by her two older brothers, who distrust any man who has seen the world beyond Nebraska.

  • He woos her with tales of his fraught relationship with Queen Isabella of Spain and his love of the open ocean.

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    The Daily Beast

    September 16, 2009

Historical Examples of woos

  • Olivia woos him as she has wooed Cesario, but with better fortune.

    William Shakespeare

    John Masefield

  • He woos a beauty, and the chivalry of France shall witness his triumph.

    The Duke's Motto

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • She woos and is wooed and has no other inducement to bind herself than her own free will.

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker

  • Yet he woos her with the same devotion which a lover shows to his mistress.

    American Sketches

    Charles Whibley

  • It wakens or warns, threatens or gladdens, and woos him back to slumberland.

    In Beaver World

    Enos Abijah Mills

British Dictionary definitions for woos


verb woos, wooing or wooed
  1. to seek the affection, favour, or love of (a woman) with a view to marriage
  2. (tr) to seek after zealously or hopefullyto woo fame
  3. (tr) to bring upon oneself (good or evil results) by one's own action
  4. (tr) to beg or importune (someone)
Derived Formswooer, nounwooing, noun

Word Origin for woo

Old English wōgian, of obscure 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 woos



Old English wogian, of uncertain origin and with no known cognates; perhaps related to woh, wog- "bent, inclined," as with affection.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with woos


see pitch woo.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.