What Is a Barbaric Yawp?

What Is a Barbaric Yawp

An interesting word came up in a conversation recently, ‘Yawp.’

I a bit of a wordy myself and love hearing new words and finding out what they mean and in what context they are best used. Which sent me down the path to look into yawp and how this word is used.

The dictionary definition of a yawp is:

a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.
“the cur did not bark, other than a single yawp”
shout or exclaim hoarsely.
“the fans screeched, yawped, and pounded their palms”
And, the urban dictionary definition of a yawp is:
A barbaric cry or noise
“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world”

So, when is it appropriate to call a yelp a yawp, and what is a barbaric yawp?

This video from Dead Poets Society hits the nail right on the head!

Robin Williams uses the word yawp to try and motivate his students. Leaning on the word as a fan of poetry and because it’s a lesser known word but means to yell out with a little extra oompf!

Obviously,¬†Ethan Hawke doesn’t let out a huge yawp due to the context of his character and the scene, but I think you get the picture.

Just imagine a really primal, barbaric, cry. Like something a Viking would let out when they are running into battle – let your imagination go a little.

So, there you have it. You can now use the word yawp when it’s appropriate and you’re searching for a word to better emphasis an outcry or a barbaric yell.

1 thought on “What Is a Barbaric Yawp?”

  1. You may want to reference the poem where “barbaric yawp” (those two words together) originated: Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” Here are the first few lines: “The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

    I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
    I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content