rebel yell and yeehaw

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Jan 21 15:46:07 UTC 2012

Some 19th-c. US publications give yee-haw  as the sound made by a mule or jackass. E.g.:

....a large jackass....kicked up his heels, and with a most sonorous yee-haw! yee-haw! set off at the top of his speed....
Matters and Things in General (News)
      Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) Saturday, September 07, 1844; Issue 51; col C (!9th. c. US N.)

Stephen Goranson
On Jan 21, 2012, at 12:41 AM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA> wrote:

> I got the following comment today on my blog post on "yeehaw"
> (
> ----
> Wrong. The reason "Yeehaw" exists in association to the West is
> because so many Southerners ended up there after the Civil War
> because their homeland had been sacked and burned and was under
> Federal (Yankee) occupation - home itself was not friendly territory.
> They probably did yell it on cattle drives; whether early Hollywood
> actors and writers from New York, Chicago and maybe Alberta were
> familiar with it is irrelevant.
> "Yeehah!" is the Southernism that was identified as the "Rebel Yell"
> which was in use since before the Civil War and was heard during the
> Civil War... usually delivered at the top of one's lungs. Just
> because you haven't observed its history doesn't mean that such
> history doesn't exist. I grew up in rural South Carolina and this
> goes back a long, long way, for generations.
> ----
> Needless to say, I think he is a little oversure of his version,
> although it is in its way an interesting contribution to the
> question. I would be glad of comment (by email or at
> by any with
> pertinent knowledge -- someone a little "closer" to it might speak
> more authoritatively than I could.
> Thanks,
> James Harbeck.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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