exclamation of surprise, etc., c. 1300; as an exclamation calling attention or demanding silence, late 14c. Used after the name of a place to which attention is called (as in Westward-Ho) it dates from 1590s, originally a cry of boatmen, etc., announcing departures for a particular destination. Ho-ho-ho expressing laughter is recorded from mid-12c.
by 1993, American English slang, representing a ghetto pronunciation of whore.
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