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[yoh-kuh l] /ˈyoʊ kəl/
noun, Informal
an unsophisticated person from a rural area; a country bumpkin.
Origin of yokel
First recorded in 1805-15; origin uncertain
Related forms
yokelish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for yokel
Historical Examples
  • I have a notion that I sat there staring and listening like a yokel at a play.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • This man was a yokel of no interest to us, apart from this one episode in his career.

    An Old Meerschaum David Christie Murray
  • Thebold had been chagrined at learning that Don Cort was not the yokel he had taken him for.

  • This yokel from the woods and mountains needed a little coaxing.

    The Bright Messenger Algernon Blackwood
  • It is the militia-man, the yokel, standing facing the captain and gesticulating at him.

    The Human Slaughter-House Wilhelm Lamszus
  • McAllister hastily tried to assume the expression and manner of a yokel.

  • Tristrem looked at him much as a yokel at a fair might look at a wizard.

  • If that isn't a Zummerset or Devon yokel, sink me for a landlubber!

    The Quest of the 'Golden Hope' Percy F. Westerman
  • They are as unpardonable as the yokel rhetoric of our British friends.

    Germany and the Germans Price Collier
  • The yokel was a year or two older, was taller, and stones heavier.

    Acton's Feud Frederick Swainson
British Dictionary definitions for yokel


(derogatory) (used chiefly by townspeople) a person who lives in the country, esp one who appears to be simple and old-fashioned
Derived Forms
yokelish, adjective
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from dialect yokel green woodpecker, yellowhammer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yokel

1812, perhaps from dialectal German Jokel, disparaging name for a farmer, originally diminutive of Jakob. Or perhaps from English yokel, dialectal name for "woodpecker."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for yokel



A rural person; a bumpkin; hayseed, hick

Related Terms

local yokel

[1812+; perhaps fr a dialect name for a woodpecker, hence semantically similar to British dialect gowk, ''cuckoo, simpleton'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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