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September 17, 2015

An extensively researched history of the exclamation "woohoo"

We all know at least one Woohoo Girl. Often found in sorority houses and bottle-service clubs, she’s the type of young woman prone to emitting a shrill, high-pitched “woohoo!” for any of the following reasons: there’s a great sale at Forever 21; some cutie messaged her on Tinder; her pregnancy test came out negative; the traffic light has turned green. Sometimes she will woohoo upon entering a room, simply to announce her presence. Woohoo Girls tend to travel in packs, and the larger the pack, the louder and more frequent the woohoos.

Despite their constant use of this interjection, few Woohoo Girls are aware of the woohoo’s rich and storied origins. We now present to you four Woohoo Girls who made history.

1. Eve: The Original Woohoo Girl

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Most people are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden of Eden, but there are quite a few misconceptions about this ancient tale. It’s true that God created Eden, a beautiful garden paradise, for Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. God placed a giant tree smack dab in the middle of Eden, called the Tree of Knowledge, and commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from this tree.

But here’s where most people are misinformed: Eve did not eat the Forbidden Fruit because she was tempted by a devil-snake. She ate the fruit because she was, simply, bored. Turns out that looking at plants and banging Adam wasn’t all that exciting. Contrary to popular belief, the Tree of Knowledge wasn’t an apple tree. It was actually covered in Amanita muscaria, otherwise known as “magic mushrooms,” “shrooms,” or “hallucinogenic mushrooms.” Yes, the kind of mushrooms that allow a person to enjoy bands like Phish.

So, when Eve ate the Amanita muscaria, she started tripping balls. With all of her senses heightened, Eve began to see new things and experience new sensations. She beckoned Adam, and they had mind-blowing psychedelic-enhanced sex. As Eve came harder than ever, she cried out, “Woooohoooo!”

Adam, wanting to see what all the fuss was about, ate one of the mushrooms. He was the kind of pensive tripper who could spend hours staring at tree bark. Eve, on the other hand, was the exact opposite. She ran around the garden, shouting “woohoo!” whenever she saw something that delighted her. A 70-foot-tall daisy! Woohoo! A puppy in tuxedo! Woohoo! A talking snake! Woohoo!

At this point God had had enough.

“Chill the fuck out,” God told Eve. “I knew you’d turn into an obnoxious bimbo if you ate from the Tree.”

“The snake made me do it!” Eve cried.

“That isn’t a snake. It’s a tree branch. You’re high. Tell you what. Even though you disobeyed me, I’ll let this one slide if you can get through the rest of the day without saying ‘woohoo’. It’s really goddamn annoying.”

“Fine,” replied Eve, who then took to rolling around on a particularly soft patch of grass.

No more than ten minutes had passed when Eve was approached by a pterodactyl. Still high-as-shit, Eve heard the creature ask, “Wanna go for a ride?” She climbed on the pterodactyl’s back and they soared through the air.

“Woooohooooo!” yelled Eve.

God wasn’t furious, just perturbed, as he figured this would happen. But he still banished Eve and Adam from paradise. Just for kicks, he decided to make childbirth extra-painful for Eve, and every woman after her, since the fall of humanity was all her fault.

2. Joan of Arc

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At the urging of the voices in her head, Joan of Arc went from being a simple peasant girl to being the leader of the French resistance against the English. According to some historical accounts, Joan carried no weapons and served as little more than a mascot or cheerleader for the French army. Newly discovered documents have recently shed light on the true reason for Joan’s military success: her ear-splitting battle cry.

In 1424, sixteen-year-old Joan had a vision of the archangel Michael, who ordered her to lead the French army to reclaim France from English rule. So, Joan pestered the shit out Robert de Baudricout, a garrison commander, until he agreed to take her to the French Royal Court at Chinon. There, Joan met privately with King Charles VII and told him of her divine calling. Having been beaten down by the English for the last several decades, Charles VII said, “Why the hell not? We couldn’t do any worse. Here’s some armor, a horse, and a banner. Knock yourself out, sweetheart.”

On May 5, 1429, Joan led the French to the fortress of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc at Orl√©ans. When the English came to oppose the advance, the unarmed Joan raised her banner and shrieked, “Woooo-hoo!” – a noise so shrill and powerful that many thought it was the voice of God himself, using Joan as a medium to drive back the English. Joan woohooed her way to another English fortress called Les Augustins and finally the main English stronghold at Les Tourelles.

Unfortunately for Joan, her woohooing days were numbered. With all that stress on her vocal cords, she eventually damaged them and developed vocal nodes. Yes, just like Adele. Her voice shot, she was defenseless against the Burgundian faction at Compiègne, who captured her and sold her to the English. Joan was put on trial for heresy and cross-dressing. She spoke in her own defense, but her hoarse, gravelly voice led her persecutors to believe she was possessed by Satan. On May 30, 1431, Joan was burned at the stake.

3. Amelia Earhart


Biographers and documentarians often speak of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart’s “mysterious disappearance.” But at this point in time, after decades of search efforts turning up nada, is her disappearance really such a mystery? Amelia “Queen of the Skies” Earhart was attempting to fly around the world in 1937, way before tools like GPS and satellites. Even though Amelia already had a bunch of record-breaking flights her under her belt, this endeavor would prove particularly dangerous and challenging. It’s amazing she made it as far as she did – from Oakland, California to Lae, Papua New Guinea. Sadly though, it’s probably safe to say at that Amelia’s plane crashed into the ocean and sunk. What truly remains a mystery is the meaning and significance behind Amelia’s last recorded transmission.

With 22,000 miles behind her and 7,000 miles to go, Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan departed from Lae, New Guinea on July 2, 1937. The pair flew toward Howland Island, where a coast guard ship called the USCGC Itasca was supposed to communicate with Amelia’s plane and direct them to a safe landing. But as her plane approached the island, it became clear that the ship could hear Amelia’s transmissions, but she could not hear the transmissions from the ship.

At 7:25 she radioed, “Gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio.”

Later, at 8:45, the Itasca received Amelia’s last known transmission, “Woohoo!” Then silence. An hour later, the Itasca sent out search parties.

In all her illustrious aviation career, Amelia had never been known to woohoo, at least never while anyone else was listening. So what was this woohoo about? Was it a cry of triumph, a last hurrah, or did she see something? Amelia Earhart is often referred to as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. But, maybe just as notably, she was also the first person to woohoo via transistor radio.

4. Michelle Obama


First Lady Michelle Obama has been woohooing since the ‘80s, when she and Barak used to party together. In fact, her Alpha Kappa Alpha nickname at Princeton was “Woohoo Robinson.” But these days, she’s taken to woohooing for a more noble reason.

If you happen to be married to the President of the United States, you gotta have a cause: Michelle’s is to end childhood obesity, a huge challenge considering how much we love to eat and sit on our asses here in America. The “Let’s Move!” campaign, which promotes exercise and healthy eating, is Michelle’s answer to this epidemic of binging and laziness.

Originally, Michelle called her campaign “Woohoo! Let’s Move!” But just prior to the first “Woohoo! Let’s Move!” event (a twerk-off at an Indianapolis elementary school), a group of angry moms sent a letter to the First Lady protesting the slogan’s lewd connotations. See, in The Sims, a popular video game, “woohoo” is slang for boning (aka sexual intercourse). So, “woohoo” was dropped and the name of the program was shortened to simply “Let Move!”

Still, Michelle lets out an occasional “woohoo” at most “Let’s Move” events. She just can’t help herself.