yokel was our Word of the Day on 05/13/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of yokel in a Sentence
a lame comedy about the misadventures of yokels in the big city
Recent Examples of yokel from the Web
Mere hours after the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their second NBA championship in three seasons, some yokel posted a tweet, citing no source, asserting that the Warriors had voted unanimously to boycott a visit to the White House.
Trump justified his risky and indefensible action with an effort at misdirection worthy of the three-card monte dealers who still fleece yokels on the sidewalks of Manhattan.
Forced to share office space in a taxidermy shop, Josh discovers just about every yokel cliche there is – some of it funny, some of not even worth mentioning.
Molly winds up married to a yokel played by Harve Presnell, who’s as unconscionably strapping as his voice is outrageously strong.
Eye catching design leaves local yokels slack-jawed.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yokel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The origins of "yokel" are uncertain, but it might have come from the dialectal English word yokel, meaning "green woodpecker." Other words for supposedly naive country folk are "chawbacon" (from chaw, meaning "chew," and "bacon"), "hayseed" (which has obvious connections to country life), and "clodhopper" (indicating a clumsy, heavy-footed rustic). But city slickers don't always have the last word: rural folk have had their share of labels for city-dwellers too. One simple example from current use is the often disparaging use of the adjective "citified." A more colorful (albeit historical) example is "cockney," which literally means "cock's egg," or more broadly "misshapen egg." In the past, this word often designated a spoiled or foppish townsman - as opposed to the sturdy countryman, that is.
Origin and Etymology of yokel
First Known Use: circa 1819See Words from the same year
Synonymsbumpkin, chawbacon, churl, clodhopper, cornball, countryman, hayseed, hillbilly, provincial, rube, rustic, hick
Antonymscosmopolitan, cosmopolite, sophisticate
Related Wordsboor, clod, clown, gawk, lout, oaf; greenhorn, tenderfoot; peasant, peon; backwoodsman, mountaineer
Near Antonymsslicker, smoothy (or smoothie); metropolitan, suburbanite, urbanite
YOKEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of yokel for English Language Learners
—used as an insulting word for a person who lives in a small town or in the country far away from cities and is regarded as stupid
YOKEL Defined for Kids
Definition of yokel for Students
Seen and Heard
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