One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
As an exclamation of sorrow or lamentation: ‘ah!’ ‘alas!’ Compare welladay, "wellanear", "well-a-wins". Now archaic.
The utterance of ‘wellaway’; lamentation.
Old English; earliest use found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History. From woe + lo + woe, perhaps as a variant of wale with partial reduplication.
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