If you do a Google define search on the word ‘Whoops’, you pull back many definitions.

Some of these include:

  • Woops! is an American Post-apocalyptic sitcom that aired on the Fox network from September 27 to December 6, 1992.
  • shout, as if with joy or enthusiasm; “The children whooped when they were led to the picnic table”
  • hack: cough spasmodically; “The patient with emphysema is hacking all day”
  • whoop – a loud hooting cry of exultation or excitement
  • whoop – An exclamation, a cry, usually of joy; A gasp, characteristic of whooping cough; To make a whoop

None of these seem quite right with what I would consider to be the most common usage of the word today. One of the suggested ‘similar’ searches is ‘whoops a daisy’. It’s definition reads as follows.

  • Acknowledging a mistake

Now thats much closer to what I was looking for. Where does that phrase come from though? Here’s an explanation from TheStraightDope:

The first use of “whoops-a-daisy” per se is around 1925, in a New Yorker cartoon. It’s an expression of surprise or dismay, specifically upon discovering one’s own error. The modern-day equivalent would be “D’oh!”, I’m afraid, which is much less expressive. The term was shortened to “whoops” by 1937, and appears in that form in a letter by Ezra Pound, no less. One assumes that it was related to the expression “to whoop,” as in giving “whoops of joy.” That usage goes back to the early 1600s.

Earlier usage of “whoop” as a verb (“the falconer whoops his hawks”) is found in the early 1400s. To cry whoop during a hunt was to indicate that the game was dead. And whoop was very quickly associated with other phrases, such as “Whope! who!” (1450) and “Whoop diddle” (1596.) The use of “whoop” or “whup” as an exclamation of surprise or derision appears in 1568.

I’m not sure that is terribly helpful. Lets try using it in a sentence:

Whoops! This article was supposed to be posted two days ago!

There we go. I think that sums it up pretty well.