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plural yahoos
capitalized : a member of a race of brutes in Swift's Gulliver's Travels who have the form and all the vices of humans
: a boorish, crass, or stupid person
yahooism noun


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ya·​hoo yä-ˈhü How to pronounce yahoo (audio)
: yippee
used to express exuberant delight or triumph
… her usually stoic grandfather shouted: "Yahoo! Way to go!"Richard Sandomir
"I'll be out there surfing—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday," he [actor/surfer Bruce Brown] says. "It makes you feel like a kid. You catch a good wave, and it makes you want to yell, 'Yahoo!'"Mark Goodman

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.

Examples of yahoo in a Sentence

Noun Some yahoo cut me off in traffic. A bunch of yahoos were making noise outside. Interjection you mean we were accepted for the reality show? yahoo!
Recent Examples on the Web
Once these yahoos were kicked out of the building, Congress calmly affirmed Mr. Biden’s election. Tom McClintock, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2024 Is there something more sinister in the making or just luck of the draw by what many suspect are ultra-right-wing yahoos who hide in the shadows? Charles Selle, Chicago Tribune, 6 Sep. 2023 Would a truly great actor have to succumb to kick-ass yahoo entertainments? Armond White, National Review, 1 Sep. 2023 On the plus side, this augured fewer yahoos in powerboats to contend with as the Hudson narrowed, beyond Haverstraw. Ben McGrath, The New Yorker, 3 July 2023 The increasing number of yahoos who treat expressway driving like a real-life video game, tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out and periodically firing guns. Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press, 26 Mar. 2023 And the episode demonstrates the downsides of priced-to-move legal advice in the opening scene, which follows two meth-addled yahoos who celebrate Saul’s introductory bargain rate by launching into a multiday bender. David Segal, New York Times, 24 Feb. 2020 Saul came to function as an exterminator of the kind of refined sensibility that separated the sophisticates from the yahoos in haut-bourgeois twentieth-century America. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2020 After failing to bully the Russians into giving up the black box, Saul tries internal diplomacy, arranging an Oval Office meeting with President Hayes but finds yahoo warmonger John Zabel (Danes' husband, Hugh Dancy) there. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2020

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

Word History



perhaps alteration of yo-ho, interjection used to attract attention, from yo + ho

First Known Use


1726, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1921, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of yahoo was in 1726


Dictionary Entries Near yahoo

Cite this Entry

“Yahoo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: yippee

More from Merriam-Webster on yahoo

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