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Encyclopedia > Wahoos

Wahoos, or Hoos for short, is an unofficial nickname for sports teams of the University of Virginia, officially referred to as the Cavaliers. A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or things real name (for example, Tom is short for Thomas). ... Website Virginia. ...

The nickname is a back-formation from the school's yell, "wah-hoo-wah." The yell was invented as an Indian yell by Dartmouth College student Daniel Rollins in 1878. Corks and Curls, the Virginia annual, regularly printed lists of the yells and colors of the various colleges, and in 1888 it included Dartmouth's school yell, a part of which was the phrase "wah-hoo-wah." U.Va. students soon incorporated the phrase "wah-hoo-wah" into their own, longer school yell, and individual U.Va. fraternities also adopted it and modified it. (It was common for "student culture" to travel: the University of Illinois also adopted "wah-hoo-wah," and the tune of the Yale Boola, for example, became the basis of the "Boomer-Sooner" song of the University of Oklahoma.) Dartmouth College is a small private university in Hanover, New Hampshire, and a member of the Ivy League. ... The University of Illinois is the set of three public universities in Illinois. ... The University of Oklahoma (OU) is an institution of higher learning located in Oklahoma. ...

By the time singer Natalie Floyd Otey performed in Charlottesville on January 30, 1893, students in the audience had been yelling "wah-hoo-wah" for years. One of her songs was specifically about the school and was titled "Wah-Hoo-Wah." It began "Oh, Charlottesville, illustrious name,/ The home of Jefferson you claim;/ The lap of learning, font of fame—" and was set to the tune of "Ta-rara-boom-de-ay," with the catchy chorus sung as "Wah-hoo-wah you-vee-ay." Charlottesville is an independent city located within the confines of Albemarle County in the state of Virginia. ... 1893 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

Otey's song was popular enough with students that Corks and Curls printed it in 1894, and students wrote their own verse about how they enjoyed singing and yelling the phrase "wah-hoo-wah": "The good old song of Wah-hoo-wah, / We’ll sing it o’er and o’er, / It cheers the heart and warms the blood / To yell and shout and roar." Taking its title from its first line, that song about the Indian yell later became the official song of the school.

Official University of Virginia sports documents explain that Washington & Lee baseball fans first called U.Va. players "a bunch of rowdy Wahoos" during the in-state baseball rivalry in the 1890s, presumably after hearing them yell or sing "wah-hoo-wah." The term "Wahoos" caught on around the University and was commonly in use by the 1940s. "Hoos" became the more accepted nickname throughout Grounds in student publications. In recent years, the Hoos nickname has become the sole nickname used by students and recent alumni of the University, and it is also commonly used in the media in reference to U.Va. sports teams. (Dartmouth students, meanwhile, largely stopped using the Indian yell during the 1980s along with the accompanying Indian mascots, symbols, and nickname.) Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia, located very close to Virginia Military Institute. ...

Other implausible but popular theories of the origin of the nickname at U.Va. involve the wahoo fish, supposedly known for drinking copious amounts of water without drowning in order to puff itself up for a fight. Binomial name Acanthocybium solandri Cuvier, 1829 The Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a dark blue scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. ...


"The Persistence of 'Wah-Hoo-Wah,' Dartmouth's 'Indian Yell,' at the University of Virginia"

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