woop ass / whoop ass / whup ass

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manan

Senior Member
español
Hey guys!

Not sure about the meaning of can of woop ass

Here you have the sentence:

"You better watch it or I'll open up a can of Whoop ass".

Thanks!!!
 
  • HalloweenHJB

    Senior Member
    American English, Midwest USA
    I LOVE this phrase! It is so expressive. It's a very colloquial way of saying that you will give the other person a beating (a physical fight). The idea that there is a can full of "whoop ass" ("ass whipping") is very comical.
     

    manan

    Senior Member
    español
    I LOVE this phrase! It is so expressive. It's a very colloquial way of saying that you will give the other person a beating (a physical fight). The idea that there is a can full of "whoop ass" ("ass whipping") is very comical.

    ok! but can I use this phrase in a friendly way? I mean, as a joke?
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I've never associated "whoop/woop" with "whip", where did you hear/learn/read this?
    I agree with GWB. This etymology comes up in every discussion of the term. I think there have been others on WR, and I've certainly seen some elsewhere. It's only confusing because lots of people learn "whoop ass" without speaking a dialect that includes "whup".
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hi GWB,

    I've never associated "whoop/woop" with "whip", where did you hear/learn/read this?

    Thanks!
    While whoop-ass is by far the most common spelling, with whup-ass and woop-ass following a distant second and third, it makes sense to me that whoop-ass would have come from whup, which means "beat decisively," and which started as a dialectal variant of whip.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Hi GWB,

    I've never associated "whoop/woop" with "whip", where did you hear/learn/read this?
    I learned this when I learned the word "whup". Having been aware for most of my life of "whup" as a form of "whip", and a synonym for "beat" (as in "his father will whup him when he finds out what he did", or "the Braves really whupped the Giants in the game last night"), I have never not associated this phrase with whup/whip, and frankly I can't imagine what sense the term would make to anyone without that association.

    It might also be noted that the word "whoop" (meaning a cry) is correctly pronounced as "hoop".
     

    incaprincess

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    The grammatically correct way to say it would be whip-ass. However, here in southern USA, people pronounce it as "whoop". So most people just stuck with "whoop-ass". To "whip (or whoop) someone's ass" means that you defeat that person either verbally or physically.

    For the record, in USA English, a "can of whoop-ass" is an urban, colloquial term that describes the event of either a major telling-off (verbal) or a physical beating meant to defeat someone.

    The term "open up a can of whoop-ass" doesn't refer to a literal tin can with an ingredient inside called "whoop-ass". The term is used when someone lets off steam whether by telling someone else off in a very brutal way (a vitriol of mean criticism) or when someone physically takes another person down by brutal force (like beating someone up or punching them or something like that).

    Different occasions in which you can use "open up a can of whoop-ass" can be:
    When you confront your ex-friend and punch him in the face and pound the bejeezeez out of him. It can be said that you opened up a can of whoop-ass on him. (Physical whoop-ass)
    When you tell off your ex-friend by letting out a mouthful of mean, harsh words. (verbal whoop-ass)
    When you give a tongue-lashing to your 8-year-old son for having deliberately disobeyed the rules of the house. (verbal whoop-ass)
    When your favorite football team defeats the opposing team. (physical whoop-ass)

    And in a less common but not less important setting: The other day we had a trial in court and one of the attorneys offered some excellent arguments, and his closing statements were pretty indisputable. The outcome was favorable to him because of his excellent litigation skills. After the fact, the other attorneys were talking about it and one of them said, "Yeah, Mr. XX really opened up a can of whoop-ass in his closing arguments." So while it's true that Mr. XX did not use a stream of harsh, brutal words to fight his case and much less did he physically assault anyone during the trial, the fact that he litigated in such an incontestable manner is what won him the whoop-ass trophy for the day.

    Now you get a clearer scope of when you could use "open up a can of whoop-ass". :D
     
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