Lo and behold or low and behold?
Have you heard the saying lo and behold? Do you know what it means and the correct way to spell it?
Don't worry, you're not alone. The phrase is often spelt incorrectly. Many people often add a 'w' at the end of 'lo', which is not the correct way to spell it.
The correct spelling of the phrase is:
Lo and behold.
What does lo and behold mean?
Lo and behold shows you are surprised by something. Another way to say the same thing could be 'look and see'. You are drawing someones attention to something that is surpirsing or interesting.
This phrase lo and behold expresses your surprise or wonder. A more modern way of saying the phrase could be 'look and see'.
Lo and behold is quite old fashioned and it is often used less seriously nowadays. Instead, people may use the phrase in jest or in a sarcastic sentence.
The sentence was first recorded in a letter dated to the 18th century, however, the words 'lo' and 'behold' were both used prior to this date separately.
Common misspelling of the word lo
The most common way to incorrectly spell the phrase is "low and behold'. And it's not surprising really. 'Low' is a far more commonly used word than 'lo', so it's much more natural for many people to use it when writing 'lo and behold'.
One quick tip to help to remember the correct spelling is to consider that 'lo' is actually a shortened version of 'look' dating back to Middle English. So simply remember the real meaning of 'look and see' and note that 'lo' equals 'look' and you can't go wrong!
Summary: Lo and behold, behold lo, or low and behold?
This was a short article to clarify the correct spelling of 'lo and behold. To sum up:
- The correct spelling is 'lo and behold' not 'low and behold'
- It means 'look and see' and it's used to express surprise
- It's old-fashioned, more commonly used in jokes nowadays
- 'Lo' is a shortened way to say 'low' in Middle English
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