We tend to use the expression “Whoa!” sparingly, and not usually for matters pertaining to FishbowlNY. While we’ve never had trouble spelling the exclamation, apparently a lot of people in 2013 have.
In his final calendar-year “The Good Word” column, Matthew J.X. Malady catalogs all kinds of social media, headline and article misspellings of this W-word. He finds it rather amazing that he has to remind everyone that the “H” is silent, yes, but repeating, no:
If you were thinking you could perhaps quarantine yourself so as to preclude exposure to the TODAY Show–style “woah” [tweets] by avoiding all forms of social media and, say, spending some time relaxing in front of the TV, think again. This month, the History Channel began airing an episode of its popular series Pawn Stars under the title, “Woah Pilgrim”…
All things considered, it’s been a banner year for “whoa,” no matter how you prefer to spell it. In fact, the word hasn’t seen this level of media saturation and pop cultural prominence since 2000, when rapper Black Rob released a rugged, very un-PC and not-safe-for-work, pre–Earl Sweatshirt club banger called “Whoa!”
A number of writers contribute to Slate’s sporadic “The Good Word” column. For us, Malady’s “Whoa!” treatise is right up there in 2013 with Simon Akam’s take on adjoinages.