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Yahoo and Swift

Posted by Lewis on July 09, 2004

In Reply to: Yahoo Serious posted by Henry on July 07, 2004

: : : : : : I've just learnt something - the origin of 'Yahoo'. I wonder if the web site owners know what sort of name they've chosen?! According to my recently acquired vintage (1942, 1947 and 1953 - ninth printing April 1956) 'The Amercan Thesaurus of Slang' the word was coined by Johnthan Swift in 'Gulliver's Travels' for a 'degraded being'. It entered common US useage in 1877 to mean any crude or uncouth person. This origin is supported by modern dictionaries. Welcome to Yahoo!!

: : : : : I had heard that Yahoo was an invention of Swift. Yahoo is also used often to refer to rural types, particularly Southerners. (My apologies to the Southerners, I don't mean to offend).

: : : : : I believe Swift is responsible for other words as well. Does anyone have (or know of) a list?

: : : : A Yahoo was a person in Gulliver's Travels who sat in a tree and flung poop on travelers on the path below.

: : : I believe the reason 'Yahoo Serious' (the actor or comedian or whatever you want to call him) so named himself is based on the definition James has provided. Even though Yahoo's comedy is to my mind facile (even by Aussie standards), the man himself is actually something of a genius.

: : Dean Swift was a rather ambivalent character. Although he abhorred any mention of his Irish origin, he founded St. Patrick's, the world's first mental hospital - as opposed to lunatic asylum - in his native Dublin. Its purpose was, and still is, to try to cure those with mental disorders, rather than locking them in asylums.

: : Despite this, he could still write (tongue in cheek, we hope):

: : 'I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nourished is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.' From: 'A Modest Proposal for preventing the Children of Ireland from being a Burden to their Parents or Country'

: I think he ojected to abbreviating mobilis vulgaris to mob.

As the Duke of Wellington used to say "being born in a stable does not make you an horse" - being a fellow Dubliner - the tourist bus ride deals with both Swift and Arthur W.

Yahoo is still used the same way as "oik" - a noisy and uncultured person. I assumed that Yahoo used that name because it meant to be populist.

I've always thought Swift was rather good at satire. what is it about the clergy?