Where does wepa come from?
In Puerto Rican Spanish, wepa is a versatile slang interjection that apparently originates as an imitation of the English Woo-hoo!. The term rose to prominence in Puerto Rico thanks to the 1974 song “El Jogorio (Wepa Wepa Wepa)” by Alfonso Velez. The song was a hit in Puerto Rico and became popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Raising wepa’s profile online, the hashtag “#WepaWednesday” emerged in 2009 as a positive alternative to the English hump day (i.e., an occasion to find joy—Wepa!—in the middle of the week vs. complaining that the workweek is only half over). Many Latinx peoples embraced the hashtag as an opportunity to celebrate all things Latin.
A resurgence of the word came into pop culture with Gloria Estefan’s 2011 song “Wepa.” In 2015, a Mexican band, Kings del Wepa debuted, continuing wepa’s frequent use in Latin music and dance.
Examples of wepa
Who uses wepa?
Wepa is primarily used by speakers and writers of Spanish, both younger and older, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico.
The exclamation is variously used to express amazement or great happiness, often in reaction to good news. It’s particularly popular at events where people are singing or dancing, encouraging high energy, movement, and partying. Internet users tag social-media posts with “#wepa” to express the sentiment, as well.
In some instances, people will use wepa as an abstract noun for the joyful feelings a shout of wepa conveys (e.g., When my mother cooks a traditional Cuban dish, I am filled with wepa).
This is not meant to be a formal definition of wepa like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of wepa that will help our users expand their word mastery.