Yahoo (Gulliver's Travels)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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 become synonymous with "cretin," "dinosaur," and/or "Neanderthal."

It is doubtful that there is any connection with any Hebrew roots as it has been proposed by some. The negative use of the Hebrew name Jehu is due to the actions of this ancient king and never in reference to the original meaning of the name.

American frontiersman Daniel Boone claimed that he killed a hairy giant that he called a Yahoo. Boone often used terms from Gulliver's Travels.

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

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Yahoo (Gulliver's Travels)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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