Definition of yips
- had a bad case of the yips on short putts
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Who first dubbed an athlete's stress under pressure the yips? We're not sure. We also can’t say for certain if this plural noun has anything to do with the singular yip, a word of imitative origin meaning "a short bark (as of a dog)." Some theories equate the "yip" sound made by a small dog with the unfortunate habit some athletes have of flinching or "hiccupping" when a steady hand is called for. What we do know for certain is that sportswriters have been using yips since 1962 and that it most often appears in golf-related contexts.
First Known Use: 1935See Words from the same year
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