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December 31, 2013

The Internet's most variously spelled word

(Continued)

And for those of you who haven't fully experienced or appreciated the extent to which the spelling of "whoa" was all over the place this year, don't fret. There are still a few days left to enjoy the very best of what this expression has to offer. If you're willing to spend a little time Googling, or playing around on social media, you'll be blown away by the zany whoa-related things you find. In fact, here's an idea that will allow you to see just how far afield things have gotten. Before the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, try this fun experiment: Sign in to Twitter and run a search on the craziest of all crazy attempted-whoa spellings, whao.

Surely no one uses that version. People may type "woah" or "whoah" sometimes out of habit, or for lack of knowledge about the preferred spelling, but no one writes "whao" instead of "whoa" right?

Just three minutes before I typed this, someone tweeted "WHAO!! Target's CEO Refuses to Sell Beyoncé's New Album." A few hours earlier, a different Twitter user noted, "Whao, it's 1:40 already." Earlier in the day, someone tweeted, "Whao . . What are you talking about?" So, yeah, that one's out there, too. Is it just a typo, rather than a deliberate spelling? Maybe. But in this highly textual age, the typos of today can become the variant spellings of the future.

So give the "whao" search a shot when you have a second and let me know in the comments if you come across anything especially ridiculous.

We'll leave the "whaoh" searches for next year.

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Malady is a writer and editor living in Manhattan. You can follow him on Twitter @matthewjxmalady.

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