Yee-ha(w) / "Rebel yell"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Dec 4 22:05:15 UTC 2006

On 12/4/06, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> My formerly reliable memory tells me that the horse-opera use of "yeeha(w)"
> was something like "giddyup," but applicable to bovine situationsas well.  That
> might explain the "yeeha(w)" in _Red River_, assuming it's really in the scene
> in question.
> A cattle-managing "yeeha(w)" is of interest too. But what I'm thinking of,
> specifically, is the "yeeha(w)" that means "My visceral reaction to this situation
> is exceedingly positive !"  Cattle and other quadrupeds are not usually present
> when "yeeha(w)" is currently exclaimed, though they are never ruled out.
> Can anyone adduce a cinematic, musical, literary, or real-world yeeha(w)" in
> the current sense earlier than 1975 ?

I thought I remembered Slim Pickens as Major T.J. "King" Kong shouting
"Yeehaw!" in the climactic bombing scene of _Dr. Strangelove_ (1964),
but according to this site it was actually "Yahoo!"

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list