Yahoo (Gulliver's Travels)

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The Servants Drive a Herd of Yahoos into the Field by Louis John Rhead, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Yahoos are legendary beings in the novel Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift.

Swift describes them as being filthy and with unpleasant habits, resembling human beings far too closely for the liking of protagonist Lemuel Gulliver, who finds the calm and rational society of intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnms, greatly preferable. The Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" they find by digging in mud, thus representing the distasteful materialism and ignorant elitism Swift encountered in Britain. Hence the term "yahoo" has come to mean "a crude, brutish or obscenely coarse person".[1]

American frontiersman Daniel Boone, who often used terms from Gulliver's Travels, claimed that he killed a hairy giant that he called a Yahoo.[2]

Yahoos were referred to in a letter sent by serial killer David Berkowitz to New York City police while committing the "Son of Sam" murders in 1976.[3][4]


  1. ^ "yahoo". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Did fiction give birth to Bigfoot? by Hugh H. Trotti". Archived from the original on 18 February 2008. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  3. ^ Bardsley, Marilyn. "David Berkowitz: The Son of Sam". Crime Library. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ Killer Book of Serial Killers: Incredible Stories, Facts, and Trivia from ... - Tom Philbin, Michael Philbin - Google Boeken