Discovering the origins of the words us say can be a many fun. It’s fascinating to map the etymology of a term favor “whiskey” to find out it originates from the Latin for life water. What happens when you obtain to a word prefer “wow,” though?

“Wow” doesn’t act like a the majority of the words that make up the English language. It can not be traced back to some old wowus talked by Romans. That’s because “wow” is no a noun, verb, adjective or any other that those type of parts of speech; that a herbal exclamation, favor oof, ouch and ew. Just due to the fact that it’s different doesn’t mean it’s impossible to look at the background of the term, and also the beginning of “wow” deserve to teach us rather a bit about the background of human being language in general.

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The Anatomy that Wow

Say words “wow” out loud. Now do that again, paying one-of-a-kind attention come what her mouth is doing. The only part of your mouth the moves is your lips, which need to make a nice rounded shape.

The “w” is one of the most basic sounds for humans to make. In human development, babies are able to make “w” sound before practically any various other consonant. Sounds favor “t” or “s” need much an ext fine tongue articulation, whereas girlfriend don’t even need a tongue at all to make a “w.” This might sound weird, however the method you actually type “wow” is component of the history.

A “natural exclamation” is one that you make without putting much thought into it. Once you stub your toe and shout “ow,” you more than likely didn’t put too lot thought into that sound. It just comes out. A research that looked at herbal exclamations in assorted languages uncovered that there space some commonalities between them. The collection that world use when they’re disgusted, fearful or pained often tend to be similar. There are lots of variables at play, yet there’s enough evidence to present that herbal exclamations space not completely random.

If they aren’t random, exactly how is a herbal exclamation decided? through what your face is doing. The vowels you use room mostly identified by wherein your tongue is in your mouth. Once you’re disgusted, her mouth will stay largely closed and produce close vowels (ee, ehh, eww). If you’re much more shocked, you’ll open your mouth more, top to much more open collection (ahh, ohh). 

Our confront might additionally be the factor we said “wow” in the very first place. A emotion of awe or surprise can cause your confront to naturally make one “o” shape. If you make a sound when this happens, that would normally sound a little like “wow.” The original offers of “wow” can be taken into consideration not language at all, yet just the sound a human being makes in solution to something shocking.

The Written origin Of Wow

It’s difficult to recognize when the first “wow” was claimed aloud. But the written record makes it easy to discover the first “wow” taped by humans (assuming there weren’t previously written “wow”s shed to time, that course). 

The very first “wow” comes not from English however from Scots. In a 1513 translate into of Virgil’s Aeneid, translator Gavin Douglas composed the lines, “Out on thir wanderand spiritis, wow! then cryis.” Why wow? One theory is that it’s regarded the scot exclamation “vow,” chin a shorter version of “I vow!” This is something you’d exclaim to do what you were saying an ext intense. This no very similar to the modern use of “wow,” and also it would certainly be numerous years prior to “wow” came into an extremely common use, at the very least in the written world.

The development Of Wow

The Oxford English dictionary states the by the finish of the 1800s, “wow” was in consistent use through English speakers. At the point, it was still only a herbal exclamation. However in the beginning of the 20th century, the would start to change.

For some reason, the 1920s and ‘30s were the decades of “wow.” Looking in ~ its use over the last 200 years, the usage of “wow” peaked in those year (though that blown increase even much more in the past twenty years or so). This is fitting, since it’s also when “wow” started entering other parts of speech.

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In 1920, “wow” was offered as a noun, and also you could say “This concert is a wow!” in the same means you could today say “This tune is a bop!” as you might currently know, this certain use has actually pretty much entirely disappeared. Four years later, “wow” was a verb, in the feeling that you can “wow” someone v a dazzling display. Lastly, in 1932 “wow” came to be a technological term that describes an audio distortion in i m sorry the frequency unexpectedly goes up and also then down, which makes a sound type of like “wow.”

And “wow” really hasn’t stopped evolving. Once it came to be a frequently written term, it could take top top more social contexts. That a staple in text messages and also other digital communication, even if it is a person is showing genuine enthusiasm or hiding contempt. It deserve to be provided ironically in response to a really boring story you to be told. Or perhaps you’re simply using it come perfect her Owen Wilson impression. And also there are companies choose WOW (airline), WOW! (cable provider) and WoW (video game) that usage the word, making that even more ubiquitous.

Despite all of the other definitions that have been accrued, the survive of “wow” is likely thanks to its simplicity and also how normally it’s formed. This is likewise why that is so comparable across a huge variety of languages, prefer the Spanish guau, oriental 와우 (wau), Russian Вау (vau) and many, many an ext that simply use “wow.” It deserve to sound choose a modern-day word, however it is something that connects us v our ancestors, likely going means back to the beforehand days the humanity. Those people may not have numerous terms, yet when challenged with something truly awesome, it’s very possible they curved your lips into something loosely favor a “wow.”