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What does ‘Yeet’ mean and how do you use it?

A man is screaming
Jeffery B. Banke / Shutterstock

Yeet is one of the newest and least understood words on the web. It̵

7;s used everywhere, seemingly without any kind of context. But words have to mean something, and yeet has a few precise meanings.

Yeet has two different definitions

At first glance, yeet looks like a nonsense internet word used without any concrete definition or context. It’s glued to memes seemingly for no reason, and that one friend who spends too much time on Reddit doesn’t seem to stop ad-libing it senselessly.

For most uses of yeet, what you see is what you get. It’s just a word that sounds funny and expressive. It is usually used in place of affirmative words like ‘boo-ja’, but it is sometimes used in place of common verbs to draw humor from everyday actions (such as dancing, running, or falling down a hill).

But yeet is actually not a nonsense word, that’s how most people use it. Yeet has a concrete definition: throwing an object with force with the trust and authority of a god. You can see this definition at work in some memes and videos, and you can even use it in your everyday life.

When you’re done with breakfast, you can chase the eggy mess around the kitchen and into the trash can. If you’re hungry as a horse, you can chase your body into an Arby’s like a rag doll. While performing these actions you should shout “YEET” because that’s what everyone in the know is doing.

So yeet is a word that means “to throw,” and it can be used as an exclamation when throwing something. It is also used as a nonsense word, usually to add humor to an action or verbal response. But where did yeet come from, and why does it have two different definitions?

Yeet Lore and Etymology

It’s hard to pinpoint when yeet became a word, but its meaning and usage seem to stem from 2000s hip-hop.

In a 2008 Urban Dictionary article, a man named Bubba Johnson defines yeet as an exclamation used when throwing an object into the air, especially “in basketball when someone has shot a three-pointer that is sure to go into the hoop.”

Of course people rarely use yeet as a real word; it is usually used as a nonsensical exclamation. This nonsensical usage is reminiscent of rap ad-libs, such as 50 Cent’s ‘GGGG-UNIT’ or Lil John’s ‘YEEAAAH’.

While it’s possible that these funny rap ad libs have influenced the nonsensical meaning of yeet, it’s also likely that the word disappeared into nonsense on its own. After all, it was popularized by memes such as Lil Meatball’s Yeet dance in 2014, where it’s used as a generic exclamation without any discernible form or context.

When do you say Yeet?

A man stares at his laptop in agony.  Is this the right time to say yeet?
fizkes / Shutterstock

Again, yeet is mostly used as a humorous nonsense word. You can technically use it whenever you want to chuckle, although you should probably avoid it in professional situations. In fact, you should probably avoid it in any situation where you’re being made fun of for yelling out a meme. (If you’re publicly reading this article, it’s too late. Everyone now knows you’re super obsessed with memes).

But some yeet enthusiasts are frowning at the nonsensical use of yeet. If you want to respect the concrete definition of the word, you must say “YEET!” Call out. throwing or pushing an object or when forcibly colliding with an obstacle. Keep in mind that its effectiveness depends on self-confidence. If you are unsure of your throwing skills, use yeet sparingly.

As for using yeet in everyday conversation, use it as you would any other verb. It’s not strictly an exclamation; it’s just fun shouting “YEET” while something is flying around the room.

The Yeet conjugation table.
Conjugations courtesy of Urban Dictionary

You can take it a step further by studying yeet verb tenses. We have included a handy Yeet Conjugation Map in this article for your convenience. Feel free to share this chart as a learning resource, but keep in mind that yeet is not yet recognized as a word by Webster’s Dictionary. Its definition can change over time, and educators may disapprove of the word in the same way they spent a century frowning at ‘not’ or ‘you’.

In other words, don’t put yeet in your next essay or tell your boss. Otherwise they could greet you immediately.

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