Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Used to express surprise or joy, to attract attention to something sighted, or to urge onward: Land ho! Westward ho!
  • n. Slang A prostitute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A whore; a sexually loose woman; in general use as a highly offensive name-calling word for a woman with connotations of loose sexuality.
  • interj. Used to attract attention to something sighted, usually by lookouts.
  • interj. halloo; hey; a call to excite attention, or to give notice of approach

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A stop; a halt; a moderation of pace.
  • interj. Halloo! attend! -- a call to excite attention, or to give notice of approach.
  • interj. Stop! stand still! hold! -- a word now used by teamsters, but formerly to order the cessation of anything.
  • pro. Who.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A cry or call uttered to arrest attention; also, an exclamation of satisfaction or exultation.
  • In particular, a cry used to stop one who is passing, or to command a stop in some action; now, especially (also written whoa), a cry used to stop a horse or other draft-animal; used imperatively, stop! hold!
  • To cry out; call out; hail.
  • To stop; cease.
  • A Middle English form of who.
  • See he.
  • The chemical symbol of holmium.
  • n. A command to keep silence, or to cease from anything.
  • n. Cessation; end; pause; intermission.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group; occurs together with yttrium; forms highly magnetic compounds

Etymologies

African American Vernacular English, alteration of whore.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ho, hoo (interjection), probably from Old Norse hó! (interjection, also, a shepherd's call). Compare German ho, Old French ho ! ("hold!, halt!"). (Wiktionary)
An eye dialect corruption of whore, from non-rhotic pronunciations considered typical of African American Vernacular English. Compare mo' (more) and fo' (for, four). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • : 26 AM ho ho ho~~~ tiz a season to be jolly ho's coming back today!!

    pangsuan Diary Entry

  • Robin Good-fellow would many times walk in the night with a broom on his shoulder, and cry "chimney sweep," but when any one did call him, then would he run away laughing _ho, ho, hoh!

    The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'

  • No sooner was he in the midst of it, but Robin Good-fellow left him with nothing but a pack-saddle betwixt his legs, and in the shape of a fish swam to the shore, and ran away laughing, _ho, ho, hoh!

    The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'

  • Why do not their windows rattle with a “Yo, ho, ho”?

    The Fish Reporter

  • The soundings of the seven trumpets are significant of progressive steps in the general judgment; the days pertaining to the voice of the seventh angel are those immediately preceding the actual sounding of his trumpet, which announces the {95} completion (as indicated by the number seven) of the mystery of God's creation in time, and marks the end of the age (_ho aiôn ho mellôn_) following upon the conclusion of the present age.

    An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality

  • One or two of them sing, keeping time with their hands, which they strike on their knees: sometimes they stop, exclaiming, _Ho, ho, ho_, when they begin dancing again, puffing like a man out of breath.

    Voyages of Samuel De Champlain — Volume 01

  • Arriving in front of the great Sagamore, he threw his dog violently to the ground, when all with one voice exclaimed, _Ho, ho, ho_, after which he went back to his place.

    Voyages of Samuel De Champlain — Volume 01

  • And, beginning with the Book of Revelation, at the title ho hon kai ho en kai ho erchomenos, "who is, and was, and is to come," he goes upward through the sacred volume, quoting the passages which bear upon the question, till he comes to the important passage in Exodus in.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 1

  • There are news going around that this season Santas might be banned to use their traditional greeting of "ho, ho, ho" and thus have to use "ha, ha, ha" instead because the term "ho" is too close to the American slang for prostitute.

    Political Correctness Taken Too Far

  • Acusilanus, Simonides the Younger, who bore the title ho Genealogos, as did also Pherecydes) "(p. 136).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

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Comments

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  • The way Santa Claus is reputed to laugh; see also ha, hee and heh.

    May 22, 2008

  • Ho. Chemical element symbol for Holmium.

    December 16, 2007