(an exclamation of surprise, wonder, pleasure, or the like): Wow! Look at that!

verb (used with object)

to gain an enthusiastic response from; thrill.


an extraordinary success: His act is a real wow.
excitement, interest, great pleasure, or the like: a car that will add some wow to your life.

Origin of wow

1890–95; perhaps identical with Scots wow! exclamation of surprise or admiration




Audio. a slow wavering of pitch in sound recording or reproducing equipment caused by uneven speed of the turntable or the tape.Compare flutter(def 12).
Scot. and North England Dialect. a howl, wail, bark, whine, or mew.

verb (used without object)

Scot. and North England Dialect. to howl, wail, bark, whine, or mew.

Origin of wow

1800–10 for defs 2, 3; 1930–35 for def 1; imitative; the audio term is probably an independent formation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for wow

entertain, charm, tickle, cheer, kill, slay

Examples from the Web for wow

Contemporary Examples of wow

Historical Examples of wow

  • Wow said the soldier, whose face was bandaged, she'll get it 'ere, won't she?

    The Burning Spear

    John Galsworthy

  • But then one afternoon I was painting that big amazon of a model and—Wow!

    Inside John Barth

    William W. Stuart

  • I'm only some stiff wi' the cauld; for wow, but I am cauld!'

    Robert Falconer

    George MacDonald

  • There—there, don't snarl so, you're simply barking—bow, wow!

    Hadda Padda

    Godmunder Kamban

  • He sits on a bough and says “wow” in a soft but decisive manner.

British Dictionary definitions for wow




an exclamation of admiration, amazement, etc


slang a person or thing that is amazingly successful, attractive, etc


(tr) slang to arouse great enthusiasm in

Word Origin for wow

C16: originally Scottish, expressive of surprise, amazement, etc




a slow variation or distortion in pitch that occurs at very low audio frequencies in sound-reproducing systems, such as a record player, usually due to variation in speed of the turntable, etcSee also flutter (def. 14)

Word Origin for wow

C20: of imitative origin


abbreviation for

waiting on weather: used esp in the oil industry
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 wow

1510s, Scottish interjection, a natural expression of amazement. "This old interjection had a new popularity in the early 1900s and again during the 1960s and later" [DAS].


"overwhelm with delight or amazement," 1924, American English slang, from wow (interj.). Related: Wowed; wowing. Used as a noun meaning "unqualified success" since 1920.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper