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December 31, 2013

The Internet's most variously spelled word

(Continued)

There are scores of similar headlines where those came from. (Not to mention the extensive body-copy, sentence-level usage of "woah" that occurred online this year among the approximately 5,220,000 hits that result from a Google search on that spelling of the word.) And we can't forget the spelling and grammar free-for-all that is the blogosphere, or the slapdash sentences that show up on message boards, or the legions of Craigslist posters who used "woah" to jazz up apartment listings during this calendar year. For those looking to own some "woah" in 2013, there was tons of woah-emblazoned Zazzle junk for sale, and a marijuana leaf-pattern "Woah Dude 2.0" dress is available right now on Amazon for $26.

But where "woah" with the "h" at the end really blew up this year was on social media. Typing the hashtag "#woah" into the search box on Twitter at any given moment results in something on the order of 50 tweets an hour. Remove the number sign from the front of "woah" and the result is more like 50 tweets a minute. ("Woah he got pushed," "Woah, where did my highlighter go?" and "WOAH! Heat wave! 34 degrees!" just scrolled by on my computer screen.) Even putting aside Twitter, there were thousands of Instagram and Vine and Tumblr posts tagged with "woah" in 2013.

And if you were thinking you could perhaps quarantine yourself so as to preclude exposure to the Today show-style "woah" 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."

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