What's with 'Woah'?

Like a lot of little girls, I was obsessed with horses. I found a trove of horse stories in my school library and dived head first into Old Bones the Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin Pace and The Golden Mare  by William Corbin.

By the time I was 9, I'd seen the word "whoa" in print so many times, it was unfathomable that anyone might spell this horse command differently. Then, about a year ago, I noticed a stranger on social media responding to a news story with "woah."

"Woah"? Really?

Not long after, I saw this spelling again. Then, just a few days before this writing, I saw a tweet from Atlantic magazine editor David Frum responding to a news item with (get this): "whoah."

I assumed that the inability to spell "whoa" was a new phenomenon. It was definitely new to me. Had I come across "woah" or "whoah" in the past, I would have noticed. I'm sure of it.

But a little grown-up research shows that these spellings are not new. Far from it.

Here's my column on all these spellings and which you should choose.

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