Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yokel

I'm trying to keep my choices for the A to Z words as non-mainstream as possible. My whole plan was to try to renew interest in unused and archaic words so when it came time to pick out a Y word I was kind-of stuck. Many of the slang I found that started with Y is still in use: Yo!, You know?, Yikes!, Yeah, and Yahoo! And, well...those are boring. But I also wanted to be able to relate the word I chose to some story or experience.

And I really can't with this one. Mostly.

You see way back when I taught, there was a teacher I worked with who would call the kids yokels. I always felt uncomfortable with it. Not because the person said it but because they said it to the students. Now, I'm fairly certain that the kids didn't know the exact meaning, but an insult is an insult and they understood that.

I've also heard it refer to locals in a college town, like the one I grew up in and the one I live in now, but there the term was a local yokel.

Although I'm certain that yokel has a place in our vocabulary it is probably the most insulty of the slang words I've picked out and as much as I am a fan for bringing back out of date words, this is one I think I'll pass on.

Yokel is a noun from the early 1800s which means a clumsy, unsophisticated person from the country.

Example: When Luke landed on Degobah, he thought Yoda was a yokel at first.


  1. I've definitely heard the phrase local yokels, and it definitely had a negative connotation. I heard it when we would go to northern Michigan on vacation, and that's what the tourists, my dad included, called the locals.

  2. I've heard the word yokel before, but I've never used it. After reading what it means, I'm glad I haven't.

    I've really enjoyed your blog. I love learning new words.

  3. I've always found this word awkward to say on a sentence. Like.. I have to pause before saying it so I get it out right. But maybe I'm just slow. :0)



  4. I've heard that phrase, but typically aimed at people from the country, or 'rednecks'. I can't believe that kids were being called that, though! That's just wrong.