Definition of yokel
: a naive or gullible inhabitant of a rural area or small town
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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
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
perhaps from English dialect yokel green woodpecker, of imitative origin
First Known Use: circa 1819See Words from the same year
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
: a person from a small town or the country who has little education or experience
Seen and Heard
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