Yahoo (Gulliver's Travels)

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A Yahoo is a legendary being in the novel Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift.

Swift describes the Yahoos as vile and savage creatures, 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, far 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]

There is no connection with the Hebrew name Jehu. The negative connotations in the use of "Jehu" is due to the actions of a king Jehu of Israel as described in the Old Testament, 2 Kings chapters 8-10, and not due to the original meaning of the name.

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 referenced in a letter sent by serial killer David Berkowitz to New York City police while committing the "Son of Sam" murders in 1976.

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