You probably don't want to yell it in a movie theater
Like most internet slang, the meaning of the word “Yeet” is probably not immediately obvious. If you heard it used, even in context, you still might not understand what it could mean.
Yeet is one of those definition-defying slang words, used in multiple ways and more as an exclamation than anything else.
However, the word does have some background and meaning that most people agree to. Read on to find out what Yeet means, how it became popular, and how you can use it.
The Definition of Yeet
Over time, the word yeet has taken on several different meanings. However, when the term first began, it was used as an exclamation when throwing an object. As one Urban Dictionary user defines it, “A word one may scream when propelling an object through the air at alarming speeds, heights, and etc.”
As yeet gained traction, people started using it in more situations. For example, one may use yeet as an excited confirmation, more akin to “yeah!” You can also use it to express contentment for something. There are no set rules for using the word, but these are the meanings most people have come to associate with the word.
Yeet eventually became so popular that it expanded to multiple forms of speech and is now used as a proper verb. For example, one might say that they just “yeeted that soda can.”
Where Did Yeet Come From?
The word has been around for some time. In 2008, Urban Dictionary defined the word as a “term used to express excitement; especially used in basketball when someone has shot a three-pointer that they are sure will go in the hoop.”
It’s likely the word had seen usage before this time, but it was just not as popular as it is today.
The slang word gained widespread use in 2014, when the “yeet dance” was created, with the first instance of it being uploaded on YouTube.
Soon after, on the then-popular social media app Vine, a video was posted by a kid named “Lil Meatball,” performing the Yeet dance. The video went viral, and the word yeet seeped into the vocabulary of multitudes of young people.
You can find many other Vines since that one (not on the original app, though, as it has since been shut down) of others using the word yeet. One early video on Vine set up the modern definition of the word, showing a girl being handed an empty can, who then screamed “yeet” as she launched it down a hallway over the heads of her classmates.
As one YouTube commenter noted of the video, “Imagine being handed an empty can of drink, then changing the lexicon of an entire generation.”
The word then started to be used in internet conversations and memes circulated on social media outside of Vine. From there, the word took on a life of its own and started being used in all situations.
The real confusion came about when users of the word created multiple forms and tenses of yeet, like “yeeted” mentioned above. However, it would also be used in the present tense as “yeeting,” and some even changed the past-tense of the word to “yote” in some situations. There is some debate as to which past-tense form should be used for yeet.
So, how can you use the word yeet for yourself correctly?
How to Use Yeet
As previously stated, the most common use of “yeet” is as an exclamation when you’re throwing an object. However, the word isn’t limited to being associated with objects, as you could also say, “I’m going to yeet myself into the pool,” or “I just yeeted my cat across the room” (not advised.)
Then, you can also use the word in the place of “yes,” especially in a state of excitement. For example:
“Would you like to go see that new movie tonight?”
You can use the word in relation to other things or people if you see something that was yeeted, or someone currently yeeting something. “He just got yeeted” or “they are yeeting that football” are both acceptable uses of the word.
There isn’t an exact standard use of the word, as it hasn’t been added to any reputable dictionaries. So, you’re free to use yeet as you see fit. It’s just not recommended you use it in any formal setting where you probably shouldn’t use slang words to begin with to get your point across. That means not using yeet in company meetings (unless, maybe for some reason, something gets thrown across the room.)
The fact is that each generation’s language is constantly changing and at a breakneck pace these days with the internet around. So don’t expect the word yeet to stick around for too long.