By Isabella Houle ’19
The word "yeet" first made an appearance in pop culture in 2014. "Yeet" refers to a dance on the social media platform Vine (R.I.P. Vine) which gained traction when a fight between two Viners, Lil Meatball and Lil Terrio. Lil Meatball claimed to dance the dance better than Lil Terrio. (If you have never seen the dance, here is a clip.) As the so-called “dance craze” began to go viral, reactions, parodies, and remixes of "yeet" all came to the forefront of Vine culture.
This usage chart from Urban Dictionary (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Yeet) demonstrates search activity for the word "yeet", from its original conception in March of 2014, to its first peak in August 2014. With disappointingly low search results between January 2015 and August 2017, the phrase lay dormant for about a year and a half; however, since September of 2017, search activity for "yeet" has grown steadily. Peaking in October 2018, yeet’s evolution has been for the better. Its popularity and depth have grown tremendously.
"Yeet" has evolved. According to Urban Dictionary, "Yeet" previously signified “an enthused dance.” "Yeet" now serves as “a versatile word that can be used as an exclamation, a verb, or even a noun.” It expresses excitement, elation, and success. "Yeet" can be sarcastic or sincere, quick or elongated, and is usually coupled with a laugh. Some grammarians take it upon themselves to conjugate the verb to yeet.
One of the most popular uses of the word actually began during yeet’s decline. In a Vine from July of 2014, after a woman is handed an empty soda can, she screams “this b*tch empty, yeet!” and throws the can down a crowded hallway. This video predates "yeet" as an exclamation; "yeet" can accompany an action to add emphasis.
As people, we fear change. We shy away from anything but the original, we cringe when something we know shifts away from what we have loved. But, we must maintain hope and optimism. In a myriad of ways, change is for the better. Change is unavoidable. Yes, some preferred #yeet as a dance. But, speaking for myself, I would much prefer to smirk at my friend in the hall, throw up a peace sign, and say, simply, “Yeet!” Lil Meatball could never have imagined where we would be today, with memes of yeet tattoos and yeet conjugation charts circling Facebook, endlessly re-emerging. And another yeet could happen again. Maybe the mediocre memes of today will blossom into dank ones over time. But, for now, we must revel in what we have done. We must revel in the yeets we have yoten, and the yeets we will yeet.