If you grew up in the 2000s, there’s a pretty big chance that you’ve heard the word “yeet” before, whether or not you actually understood what it meant. Somehow, the term found itself at the pique of pop culture, a phenomenon that some idolized while others struggled to understand how something so obscure became one of the biggest Internet memes of its time.
Yeet actually doesn’t stand for just one thing. The term took an interesting journey through pop culture terminology, becoming not only an action but a saying. Believe it or not, yeet originally started out as a dance. It was created in February 2014, but it grew in popularity through Vine, the now-dead social video sharing app that allowed users to create funny six-second clips. In fact, the dance was completely under the radar until Lil Meatball, a 13-year-old Vine star from Dallas, Texas with trademark thick glasses, went viral for it.
Within weeks, the Vine garnered 15,000 likes and 130,000 revines and became a viral meme sensation, both on Vine and other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.
Lil Meatball’s dance spawned thousands of similar videos from people hoping to find the same success and even led to the creation of a few songs, including “Teach Me How To Yeet” by Oh Boy Prince and “Yeet” by Quill.
But yeet is more than just a dance phenomenon — it’s an exclamation that became popular through the vines of people chanting at the dancers. Perhaps Urban Dictionary explains it best:
An extremely expressive word that can be used in many situations.
On one end of the spectrum, “yeet” can be bellowed with a full, guttural sound whilst lobbing an object furiously to assert authority (great for water balloons and empty containers). On the other hand, “yeet” can be used gently, like the faint brush of a butterfly’s wings as it crosses one’s lips, as one completes a difficult task (i.e. boss in a difficult game, tough question on a math test).
This popular video of a teen yelling while throwing a water bottle down the hall of her high school, for instance, is a pretty good example of the “lobbing an object furiously to assert authority” part.
So, we know what the word means, but how are we supposed to use it? Another Urban Dictionary gave this helpful breakdown:
“Yote” is often replaced with “yeeted,” but that is a prime example of poor grammar. Using “yeeted” instead of “yote” would be like saying “eated” instead of “ate.” It makes you sound like a baby or a moron.
“Yeet” as a verb
2. “Yeet” is quite commonly used as a verb for the specific purpose of throwing an object forcefully over a long distance.
3. “Yeet” can also be used as something you’d include in a sentence to describe what happened to someone who has been greatly or suddenly defeated in a competition such as sports or a video game.
“Yeet” as a pro-sentence
“Yeet” as an exclamation
1. This form of “yeet” can be exclaimed in any situation where the verb form could be used to describe the action in which the speaker is currently partaking. For instance, if you throw something violently or hit a nasty whip, you may exclaim “Yeet!” while doing so.
While the phrase has phased in and out of popularity the past few years, it’s still common to find it online, especially on social media. People may have forgotten the word’s complicated journey through memehood, but they sure as hell haven’t forgotten just how fun it is to use it.