1 of 2


variants or yaup
yawped or yauped; yawping or yauping; yawps or yaups

intransitive verb

: to make a raucous noise : squawk
yawper noun


2 of 2


variants or less commonly yaup
: a raucous noise : squawk
: something suggestive of a raucous noise
specifically : rough vigorous language

Did you know?

Yawp first appeared sometime in the 15th century. This verb comes from Middle English yolpen, most likely itself derived from the past participle of yelpen, meaning "to boast, call out, or yelp." Interestingly, yawp retains much of the meaning of yelpen, in that it implies a type of complaining which often has a yelping or squawking quality. An element of foolishness, in addition to the noisiness, is often implied as well. Yawp can also be a noun meaning "a raucous noise" or "squawk." The noun yawp arrived on the scene more than 400 years after the verb. It was greatly popularized by "Song of Myself," a poem by Walt Whitman containing the line "I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."

Examples of yawp in a Sentence

Verb stop yawping about your problems and try doing something to fix them
Recent Examples on the Web
After Glazer’s film cuts to black at the end, the music reemerges in a nightmarish march of yawping voices. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2023 Credit to the singer for expanding outside her usual vocal range, though, deploying an Imogen Heap–style yawp on this one. Nate Jones, Vulture, 11 Jan. 2021 And, finally, the restatement of the American Dream for a new century, just the way Walt Whitman yawped it in the streets of Manhattan. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 19 Mar. 2017
Prince Harry’s book is a yawp of grief for the dead which spares little mercy for the living. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2023 The result: a cathartic yawp for bandmates and fans alike. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 8 Nov. 2023 That song has always seemed to me the Ur-millennial track with its twee mandolins, barbaric yawp of a vocal, and stomp-clap vibe that anticipates the sound that would dominate radio in the early 2010s. Vulture, 10 May 2023 Casas’s walk on the wild side One day after Triston Casas let out a mighty yawp following a 14-pitch walk against the Rays, the Red Sox remained both impressed with the focus demonstrated by the rookie in the at-bat and amused by a virtually unprecedented reaction to a walk. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Apr. 2023 In a metaphor for either human experience or the art of composition, Tamestit literally found his voice, with a primal yawp, and learned to make music with the viola, in partnership rather than contest with others. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 21 Oct. 2022 The band’s early music seemed to catalyze a host of dark, ugly emotions into a powerful yawp of defiance. David Peisner, Rolling Stone, 23 Dec. 2022 Sometimes, even the most sophisticated of orchestras just needs to belt out a good barbaric yawp. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 20 Oct. 2021 The book reads like a version of Whitman’s barbaric yawp. Marisha Pessl, New York Times, 6 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yawp.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English yolpen

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of yawp was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near yawp

Cite this Entry

“Yawp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yawp. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
variants or yaup
: to make a loud harsh noise


2 of 2 noun
variants also yaup
: a loud harsh noise

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