Two whoa cartoons this morning, a simple Bizarro and a complex Zippy.

Bizarro and the four-way WHOA:


WHOA ‘STOP’ fits the cowboy locale. The caption comments on the absurdity of a four-way stop in the middle of a desert.

Dingburger whoas on the transformation into a marionette:


A more complex whoa!, communicating something like ‘let’s stop and consider this situation’. (Several bonuses, including the amazing family names Paradigm, Photocharm, Fairway, and Periodical.)

Interjectional history. The OED relates the interjection whoa (and an assortment of its spelling variants) to an interjection (with initial /h/ or /w/) serving as a call for attention, especially from a distance (whoa ho ho in Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale of 1611), or as a call to cease what one is doing (1390), then specifically a command to a horse or other animal to stop and stand still (1843: “whoas, gees and haws”) and “jocularly to a person as a command to stop or desist”.

Interjections are primarily designed to be audible (the /o/ of whoa and its relatives is excellent for this purpose) and are compatible with a wide range of reasons (often overlapping) for using a short, very audible expression.

(Given the strip’s preoccupation with Judge Judy, the title “Punch and Judge Judy Show” was probably inevitable — though Punch and Judy are hand puppets rather than marionettes.)

2 Responses to “whoa!”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Bill Mullins on ADS-L on June 11th:

    I looked up “whoa” on the OED after reading your post. The OED doesn’t have what might be called the “Keanu Reeves” sense, in that he says “whoa” in Bill & Ted 1 & 2, The Matrix, and other movies, meaning an interjection of amazement — “WTF”.

    Nice gloss: “an interjection of amazement, WTF’.

  2. Fathers Day Five | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] horses. Another very silly Bizarro in the […]

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