The Meaning of Wow: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of wow? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word wow, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word wow mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word wow is an exclamation and interjection that someone will use if they are impressed, surprised or pleased. It can also be sued as a verb to mean to arouse enthusiasm. The pronunciation of wow is waʊ. Wow has a positive connotation and implies a pleasurable effect. Someone could say:

Wow! I did not expect the election in America in November to go that way – then again, the Scots election in September surprised me too.

The song by the student at Princeton University is a real wow. It made my heart flutter.

Wow, I can’t believe our professor dinged me for not using APA style in the bibliography of my essay on the silvery gibbon. 

The word wow can also be used as a noun to refer to the slow variation, distortion in pitch, or slow wavering of pitch of a sound recording that can occur at low audio frequencies in certain types of sound-reproducing systems, such as a record player, usually due to a variation in speed of the recording or uneven speed of the turntable to alter the pitch of a sound reproduction. Someone might say wow in response to a joke, or use the term wow effect to refer to something cool like virtual reality.

There are many other languages that contain words meaning wow. You might notice that many of these words look and sound similarly to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that mean the same thing as well as look and sound similar across languages. This often happens when the two words or languages share a common Greek or Latin root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word wow is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Russian: ого́‎, ого́‎ (ohó), ничего́ себе́!‎ (ničevó sebé!), ба‎, ишь ты‎, на́до же‎, обалде́ть‎, ва́у‎ (neologism), здо́рово‎, ух ты‎, офиге́ть‎, охуе́ть‎ (vulgar), пизде́ц‎ (vulgar), пфф‎
  •  Finnish: vau!‎, o-ho!‎
  •  Hebrew: ואו‎ (waw)
  •  French: ouah!‎, oh!‎
  •  Persian: وه‎ (vah), به‎ (bah)
  •  Spanish: guau‎, guao‎
  •  German: wow‎, boah‎
  •  Khmer: ចុម‎ (chom), វ៉វ់‎ (vorv)
  •  Thai: ว้าว‎ (waaw)
  •  Portuguese: uau‎, uia‎, nossa‎
  •  Latin: hui!‎
  •  Malay: wau‎, wah‎
  •  Korean: 와‎
  •  Icelandic: vá‎
  •  Japanese: わあ‎ (wā), すごい‎
  •  Hungarian: hűha!‎, tyű!‎, tyűha!‎, ejha!‎
  •  Mandarin: 哇塞‎ (wāsài), 哇‎ (wā), 哎呀‎ (āiyā)
  •  Hiligaynon: aba‎
  •  Armenian: մաման-ծաղկաման‎
  •  Maori: ānana‎, ēhe‎, anō‎
  •  Dutch: wauw‎
  •  Turkish: vay‎, vay canına‎

According to The Free Dictionary, the word WOW can also be used as an abbreviation or slang term on sites like Facebook and Twitter. While these are all still valid definitions, they are far less common and should be used sparingly to eliminate any confusion. If you do plan to use one of these different definitions for the acronym WOW, ensure that you are providing the reader or listener with the proper context to be able to decipher your intended meaning. This should be standard practice with any shorthand that can have more than one definition. Use the full form if you are uncertain.

  •  Wendy O Williams (singer of the Plasmatics)
  •  Women of Worldnet
  •  World of Warcraft (game)
  •  World of Wearable Arts (New Zealand)
  •  Warriors of Wellness (American Cancer Society Relay for Life Team)
  •  Wild on Wednesdays
  •  World of Work
  •  Wise Ordering for Writes
  •  World of Wonder
  •  Writers on Writing (various organizations)
  •  Who Offers What (various organizations)
  •  World Organization of Webmasters
  •  Workstation on Wheels
  •  Workers of the World
  •  Wide Open World
  •  Workshop on Workshops
  •  Whining Old Woman
  •  Wish Only Well
  •  Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington (Wisconsin)
  •  Words of Wisdom
  •  Wildlife on Wheels
  •  Women of Weight
  •  Walk on Walls (Jedi Knight game mod)
  •  Whip ’em Out Wednesdays (Opie & Anthony radio show)
  •  World of Words (Tucson, AZ)
  •  Windows On Windows
  •  Wonderful Outstanding Worker (various organizations)
  •  Women on Women
  •  Women of Worship (various locations)
  •  Women of Wrestling
  •  Warehouse on Wheels (various organizations)
  •  Web-Oracle-Web
  •  Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw (Michigan)
  •  World of Wackiness (Japanese video game)
  •  Wonders of the World
  •  Wakefield Orchestral Wind (UK)
  •  War on Waste
  •  Women of Willow Grove (Willow Grove, PA)
  •  Watch Our Words, Inc (Baltimore, MD)
  •  Way Out Wineries (Texas)
  •  Worst of the Worst (Shainin Strategies)
  •  World of Water
  •  World Orphan Week (SOS Children’s Villages)
  •  Wonders of Wildlife (various locations)
  •  Women Organising the World
  •  Way Oracle Works (software)
  •  Women’s Ordination Worldwide
  •  What’s on Where? (Ireland)
  •  Women of Worth
  •  Worlds of Wayne (podcast)
  •  Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week (California)
  •  Washington On Wheels (Washington Hospital Healthcare System, California Mobile Health Clinic)
  •  With or Without (gaming)
  •  Waiting On Weather
  •  Wanted on Warrant (law enforcement)
  •  Woolworths
  •  Walks on Water
  •  Windows on Windows Layer
  •  Water-In-Oil-In-Water (emulsions)
  •  World Ocean Watch
  •  Will-O-Wisp (gaming)
  •  Wife of Widower
  •  Ways of Working (various organizations)
  •  William of Wales (Prince William of UK)
  •  WideOpenWest
  •  White Open Weave (bandage)
  •  World of Wonders
  •  Women Office Workers
  •  Week of War (gaming tournaments)
  •  Walk Out Working (device configuration, especially mobile phones)
  •  Wider Opportunities for Women
  •  Week of Welcome
  •  Woody’s Office Watch
  •  Work on Weekends
  •  World of Wrestling (magazine)
  •  Women Online Worldwide
  •  Windows on Win32
  •  Weak of Wanting (band)
  •  Weight On Wheels
  •  Way of Work (Oslo, Norway)
  •  Whip ’em Out Wednesday (radio promotion)
  •  Web Object Wrapper
  •  Words on the Web (online literary magazine)
  •  Windows on the World (IBM internal database)
  •  Words on Work (Canadian women’s speaker bureau)
  •  Wines of Washington
  •  Word of Wisdom (LDS church)
  •  Women On Wheels (motorcyclist organization)
  •  Wade Oval Wednesdays (Ohio)
  •  War of the Worlds
  •  Weigh on the Way (Pitney Bowes’ automated inline mailpiece weighing system)
  •  Week Over Week (marketing)
  •  Walk Our Way (mall walking club)
  •  Waldorf Online World
  •  Women of Works (civic organization)
  •  Wise Older Women (email newsletter)
  •  Wonderful Open-hearted Wagon (Toyota)
  •  Wonder of Wonders
  •  Wall of Worry
  •  Worship of Wicca
  •  Weight Off Workout (exercise video)
  •  Warehousing of Wisconsin (Appleton, WI)
  •  West Orange Warrior (West Orange High School, Florida)
  •  Word Other Word (password creation technique)
  •  World of Wisdom (astrology)
  •  Walk Out Window (access Hatch on outside shell of storage tank)
  •  Women of the Wall (est. 1988)
  •  Wizards of Words (Queen Creek, AZ writers group)
  •  Woodmen of the World

Overall, the word wow means an exclamation of surprise. 


  1. Wow definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. WOW – What does WOW stand for? |  The Free Dictionary 
  3. wow: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense