1 capitalized Yahoo : a member of a race of brutes in Swift's Gulliver's Travels who have the form and all the vices of humans
2 : a boorish, crass, or stupid person
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.
The reputation the teenagers had for being a bunch of self-involved yahoos was belied by their courteous treatment of the stranded motorists.
"In a place like America, we seem to revel in these geographic judgments. And so Northerners stereotype Southerners as Confederate flag-waving, pickup driving, moonshine-drinking yahoos and Southerners depict Northerners as snooty, elitist, big city, latte-drinking, Volvo-driving liberals." — John F. Hudson, The Cambridge (Massachusetts) Chronicle, 31 May 2018
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