ya·​hoo | \ ˈyā-(ˌ)hü How to pronounce yahoo (audio) , ˈyä- How to pronounce yahoo (audio) \
plural yahoos

Definition of yahoo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : a member of a race of brutes in Swift's Gulliver's Travels who have the form and all the vices of humans
2 [influenced by yahoo entry 2] : a boorish, crass, or stupid person


ya·​hoo | \ yä-ˈhü How to pronounce yahoo (audio) \

Definition of yahoo (Entry 2 of 2)

: yippee used to express exuberant delight or triumph … her usually stoic grandfather shouted: "Yahoo! Way to go!"— Richard Sandomir"I'll be out there surfing—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday," he [actor/surfer Bruce Brown] says. "It makes you feel like a kid. You catch a good wave, and it makes you want to yell, 'Yahoo!'"— Mark Goodman

Other Words from yahoo


yahooism \ ˈyā-​(ˌ)hü-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce yahoo (audio) , ˈyä-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for yahoo

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Interjection

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

We know exactly how old yahoo is because its debut in print also marked its entrance into the English language as a whole. Yahoo began life as a made-up word invented by Jonathan Swift in his book Gulliver's Travels, which was published in 1726. On his fourth and final voyage of the book, Lemuel Gulliver is marooned on an island that is the home of the Houyhnhnms, a species of intelligent, civilized horses who share their land with and rule over the Yahoos, a species of brutes with the form and vices of humans. These Yahoos represented Swift's view of humankind at its lowest. It is not surprising, then, that yahoo came to be applied to any actual human who was particularly unpleasant or unintelligent.

Examples of yahoo in a Sentence

Noun Some yahoo cut me off in traffic. A bunch of yahoos were making noise outside. Interjection you mean we were accepted for the reality show? yahoo!
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the episode demonstrates the downsides of priced-to-move legal advice in the opening scene, which follows two meth-addled yahoos who celebrate Saul’s introductory bargain rate by launching into a multiday bender. David Segal, New York Times, 24 Feb. 2020 Saul came to function as an exterminator of the kind of refined sensibility that separated the sophisticates from the yahoos in haut-bourgeois twentieth-century America. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2020 After failing to bully the Russians into giving up the black box, Saul tries internal diplomacy, arranging an Oval Office meeting with President Hayes but finds yahoo warmonger John Zabel (Danes' husband, Hugh Dancy) there. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2020 If the public is in the mood for yahoo-ism, that’s what Haley will give them. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 9 Jan. 2020 Who knows why these yahoos did a minstrel show in 1960? Brian T. Allen, National Review, 5 Oct. 2019 There’s a sentiment among some politically bent if racially biased yahoos that this spate is symptomatic of an uncaring, anti-cop administration that recently nixed a budget request to hire five more police officers. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, 12 Sep. 2019 The weekend gets going on Friday with music from Gator Nate, the lovable backwoods yahoo and role model for many a UF pledge. Ben Crandell,, 22 Aug. 2019 This is what failure looks like, unemployable yahoos who join a mob and demand people with jobs just give up. Fox News, 8 Aug. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yahoo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of yahoo


1726, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1921, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for yahoo


perhaps alteration of yo-ho, interjection used to attract attention, from yo + ho

Learn More About yahoo

Listen to Our Podcast About yahoo

Dictionary Entries Near yahoo




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for yahoo

Cite this Entry

“Yahoo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on yahoo

Britannica English: Translation of yahoo for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!