Friday, May 11, 2012

WHOOP!, THERE FRIDAY GRAMMAR RODEO IS!  Spurred by comments in yesterday's post about CMT and Steve Austin, when you open a can of something to show someone who's boss, are you opening a can of "whoop-ass," "whoopass," "whoop ass," "whup-ass," "whupass," or "whup ass?"  Google stats?

"Can of whoopass"--380K results
"Can of whoop-ass"/"Can of whoop ass"--2.56M results (Google does not differentiate between with or without the hyphen)
"Can of whupass" --16,700 results
"Can of whup-ass"/"can of whup ass"--39,300 results.

TMZ apparently prefers "whoop," while Andrew Sullivan prefers "whup."  Where do you stand on this crucial issue?


  1. Craig8:26 AM

    Always been partial to "whoop-ass" myself.

  2. Joseph J, Finn9:03 AM

    Whupass, of course.  It's spelled whup and why hyphenate it as neither word is an edjective?

  3. KCosmo's neighbor10:06 AM

    Maybe it's a regional thing--like "in line" vs. "on line." I'd vote for whoop-ass. But I'd prefer it bottled, not canned.

  4. I always assumed it was a can, and not a bottle, so that it wouldn't accidentally break while rolling around in one's truck bed.

  5. Thank you, Joe, Merriam, and Webster.

    Steve Austin and Steve Austin-driven internet statistics be damned, I will continue to insist that "whoop" appropriately refers to a loud vocalizations, usually devoid of syntax, expressing excitement, approval, threat, or distress. 

    While various asses, actual or theoretical, contemporary or historical, may indeed warrant a "whoop" for various reasons, this makes little or no sense in the context of Mr. Austin, who has made his living (and popularized the idiotic phrase "whoop-ass") in the field of soft-core pornographic violence.  If he was famous for doing regular pornography, soft-core or otherwise, or ass porn in particular, and whooping was involved, maybe I could see "whoop-ass" working in related slogans and promotional material.  But maybe not.  No matter.  Mr. Austin is (or was) in the business of whipping asses (or appearing to, in staged and scripted physical contests) and opening related metaphorical "cans of whip-ass" in the process.  But you can't say "whip-ass" without sounding like a (*perjorative and inappropriate term for the preordained loser of staged and scripted physical contests*).  You've got to say "whupass".  But I bet he couldn't trademark "whupass", so he further sullied the endlessly abused English language by dragging poor old "whoop" out of its natural context and onto a billion $20 Hanes Beefy-Ts, which, in the age of the internet, has translated into a shift in common usage.

    Which is a long way of saying that it's only "whoop-ass" because Stone Cold Said So, and fuck that guy.

    Also, get off of my lawn.

  6. isaac_spaceman10:32 AM

    <span>C'est woux-pas, non?</span>

  7. Paul Tabachneck11:54 AM

    I've always seen it as "whoop-ass," but the definitions of the root words point to "whup-ass" as being the more grammatically correct, no matter how many of us spell it wrong.

  8. Six hours later, I'm disappointed not only by our community's seeming settled concensus around an obvious error, but also by the related lack of real feeling on this deeply important point. 

    I may have to knock-off early and go sit at a sidewalk cafe somewhere, in the warm spring sun, and the cool spring breeze, with a tall spring drink, to console myself.  Thank you -- all of you: those who've weighed-in already, and, particularly, those who haven't -- for supplying a pretext.

  9. Watts3:15 PM

    Phil, if your drink is to be of the alcoholic persuasion, might I suggest a literary selection?

  10. Adam C.3:48 PM

    Will your tall beverage of choice be served in a tallboy can....of whup-ass?

  11. Becca7:09 PM

    I'm inclined to pronounce whoop with both o's, so it's a poor choice for whupass, which clearly leans toward a more schwa sound in the middle. Like when you whoop for joy. Do you whup for joy? No. You whoop. Two o's. However, I will allow that this is regional. All y'all standing "on" line can break out a can of whoop-ass if someone cuts in front of you. But understand that you're probably doing both incorrectly.  

  12. <span>The beverage in question turned out to be a highball of bourbon and soda.  We might call that whup-ass (of a sort), diluted with soda in a rough 1/4 ratio, over ice.  It was served in a glass, not a can, and while tall boys imply high balls I don't think the converse generally holds.  Reasonable diligence has uncovered no strong literary connection for this simple concoction, but thank you, Watts, for providing fuel for more erudite dipsomaniacal diversions in future days.

  13. bill.8:43 AM

    I figured Spencer's Gift would be the ultimate authority on this issue; however, when I searched for whoop or whup it just tried to direct me to stripper poles. Probably their search engine's default result.

    I would go with [can] of [whup]ass. Regionalism: even if "whoop" is correct, in the South that is pronounced "whup." So everyone wins/loses.

  14. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Whoop has that oo sound in it.  So clearly it's whup.

    It should probably be whup'ass, with the apostrophe replacing "your."

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