Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Word of the day

Every morning as part of my daily ritual, I check my email and then go to Merriam Webster to read the word of the day and to play the daily word game. Today's word struck me as funny.

yahoo • \YAH-hoo\ • noun
: a boorish, crass, or stupid person

Example sentence:
The local teenagers' reputation as a bunch of yahoos was belied by their courteous treatment of the stranded motorists.

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. The Yahoos were a race of brutes, with the form and vices of humans, encountered by Gulliver in his fourth and final voyage. They represented Swift's view of mankind at its lowest. It is not surprising, then, that "yahoo" came to be applied to any actual human who was particularly unpleasant or unintelligent. Yahoos were controlled by the intelligent and virtuous Houyhnhnms, a word which apparently did not catch people's fancy as "yahoo" did.

Kind of makes you wonder why Yahoo! would choose that particular name. Boorish, crass, stupid -- and in my definition, loud. Maybe that's why people have taken to calling them Yahell.

That is all. Disperse.

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