Where did WHOA come from?

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Where did WHOA come from?

Post by smitty1931 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:43 pm

In horse operas the stage coach driver yells "whoa". Why not "stop" or "halt"? My dictionary does not define it.

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Re: Where did WHOA come from?

Post by MarkC » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:53 pm

Dunno if this exactly explains it, but I'd bet it's related:

It sounds like exactly what it is intended to convey, even to someone or something that doesn't understand English or any other language. Those other words do sort of, but not like that.
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Re: Where did WHOA come from?

Post by HoustonDavid » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:36 pm


According to the on-line version of Merriam Webster, the etymology of "whoa" is Middle English from
the 15th century and is pretty much defined by the usage in horse operas, to stop or slow down draft
animals such as horses. It is commonly used in conversation to mean "slow down" or "take it easy". :)
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Where did WHOA come from?

Post by Wallingford » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:46 pm

This classic line from the 1930 Little Rascals episode, "School's Out":

TEACHER: What did Paul Revere yell when he rode on his horse?
PUPIL: He said, "WHOA!!"
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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