Self

What It Means When People Use The Word 'Yeet'

Photo: Dean Drobot / nakaridore / An Van Assche | Shutterstock
yeet meaning

There is one particular internet-based word that may sound a bit bananas if you don't know how to use it. That word is "yeet."

First, it's important that I tell you how much I love the internet. I can vividly recall the first time I popped an AOL CD-ROM into my dad's old PC and the electric thrill of the dial-up sound made by the family modem.

Thankfully, while modems and CD-ROMS are things of the past, my passion for the internet has not faded. One of the reasons I keep coming back for more is because, as I continue to age (why, God?!), the internet is the place that keeps me in touch with all that is hip and cool, and also lame and nerdy.

That's right — look out kids, I could be wandering your favorite internet enclaves trying to seem hip and young even as we speak.

But for all its splendor, the internet isn't just fun, it can also be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to stuff like trying to figure out different words and phrases, their history, and how to use them without sounding like an idiot (memories of my boss once saying "this pizza is on fleek" come to mind).

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What does yeet mean?

If you've been on the computer or you have kids, then chances are you've already heard the word "yeet" used. But that said, do you know what it means, where it came from, and how to use it correctly in a sentence? Fret not: I got you.

According to Urban Dictionary (the go to for all internet slang), yeet means "to discard an item at a high velocity." To yeet someone, then, is to "throw" someone away, obviously metaphorically.

It also is used as an "exclamation of excitement, approval, surprise, or all-around energy, often as issued when doing a dance move or throwing something," according to Dictionary.com.

Where did yeet originate?

Yeet was first mentioned in 2008 on Urban Dictionary and was defined as an excited exclamation, particularly in sports and sexual contexts, used in a phrase like, "That’s what I’m talking about! Yeet Yeet!"

Then in February 2014, the term spread through a song by Quill.

As many viral songs these days do, "Yeet" came complete with an accompanying dance move once someone known as Lil' Meatball uploaded his own Yeet video in February of the same year, and something about the kid and his moves translated into instant internet fame. That's right: Lil' Meatball went viral.

The popular video-uploading app Vine (TikTok's predecessor) started featuring these videos known as "yeet dances." The slick dance move was characterized by a maneuver similar to throwing a basketball when someone has shot a three-pointer.

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So, to sum up, the "Yeet Dance" was something just a few people were trying out on Vine... until Lil' Meatball and all his awkward glory came onto the scene and made #yeet the new Carlton dance.

After his video went viral, all yeet videos were basically impressions of the kid or people trying to up the yeet ante.

It's also known for going viral in a 2016 Vine where a young girl at school throws an empty can into a crowded hallway screaming, "This b*tch empty. YEET!"

Because it was such a major movement on the web, kids started to pick up the word and now use "yeet" as an exclamation.

How To Use Yeet Online & In Conversation

1. As an exclamation

The most common way that yeet is used is as an exclamation after throwing something. It's a way to express excitement. For example, in basketball when someone has shot a three-pointer, you could yell, "yeet" as they toss it towards the basket.

2. After discarding something

If you throw something (especially if you throw it away into the garbage), you can use the word "yeet" along with it.

One hilarious example is a reimagined version of Rafiki holding baby Simba, "yeeting" him over the cliff:

3. As a replacement for 'yes'

Less commonly used, yeet can be used in place of the word "yes."

For example, if someone asks if you want to see a movie tonight, you can say "yeet" in response as a "yes." This is especially appropriate should you be excited about the event.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.

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