Yee-ha(w) / "Rebel yell"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Dec 4 14:32:01 UTC 2006

It's the 21st C., so why be surprised, as I was, at the appearance of exclamatory "Yee-ha!" in Australia: . Also:

  2001 Matthew Reilly _Area 7_ (Rpt. N.Y.: St. Martin's, 2002) 175: Beside her, Elvis was yelling, “Yee-ha!” as he rained hell on the 7th Squadron men with the minigun.

  "Yee-ha!" / ji:::: ' ha:::: / is frequently known as "the rebel yell," but 19th C. descriptions of that yell (or those yells), analyzed by Allen Walker Read in _AS_ long ago show that its dominant effect was not "Yee-ha!"

  I grew up in a bluebelly ethos where "whoopee" and "yahoo" and "wahoo" were familiar from movie westerns and the phrase "rebel yell" was used only in history books.

  I first became conscious of "Yee-ha !" in 1974 or ' 75.  Since then it has been yelled everywhere. But when did this popularity begin.  There's a "famous 'Yeehaw!' scene," it sez here, in _Red River_ (1948), but I can't recall whether the yell (prefaced by 'Take 'em to Missouri, Matt!") sounded like "Yeehaw!" or something else.

  A West Indian "yee ha" from 1877 is readily findable through Google Books,  but it seems like nonsense syllables rather than any kind of yell.

  Phonetically it's related to "hee-haw," but there all similarity ends.

  Thoughts?  Early cites ?  Any connection to Yeehaw Junction, Florida?  (Under "yeehaw," OED's earliest is 1977, despite appearances.)


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