Etymology (Meaning of Words)/origin of "Wow!"


I was motivated to read the allexperts article on "wow" because I heard this from a Senegalese woman I recently met: in the west African language Wolof, the word for "yes" is "waaw", pronounced "wow" to our ears. Some people believe "wow" entered our speech via the slave trade. Any truth to that?


Hello,  I hope that you're having a fine weekend.  Please forgive the delayed response.  I've been a bit under the weather.

I have always thought 'wow' to be onamonapiac, that is ,an imitation of a sound one hears in everyday life; such as 'arf' or 'oink' or 'buzz'.  
Rather than share only that assumption, I consulted Robert Barnhart's Dictionary of Etymology considered by word experts to be the bible in the field.   I found the following:

    Wow Interjection: Before 1500, Scottish, of imitative origin   Noun: 1920, an unqualified success, hit:  from the interjection.  Verb:  1924  overwhelm with delight or amazement, from the interjection.

    I hope that your holiday season is a real WOW.  

   The best to you always,

         Carol P.

Etymology (Meaning of Words)

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Carol Pozefsky


Etymology: The origins of English words and phrases. Anchor/Reporter NBC and CBS Networks. News Director 3 Regional Radio Stations.

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