Origin of yo-yo

earlier, a U.S. trademark for such a toy (1932); recorded in 1915 as the name of a Philippine toy; of undetermined orig.
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Examples from the Web for yo-yo

Contemporary Examples of yo-yo

Historical Examples of yo-yo

  • The ships that raided them were the Enterprise and the Yo-Yo.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Then the Yo-Yo blew up, very quietly, as things do where there is no air to carry shock-and sound-waves, but very brilliantly.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • That's pretty hard to keep track of, because I was like a yo-yo, back and forth from one parent to the other.

    Warren Commission (8 of 26): Hearings Vol. VIII (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy


British Dictionary definitions for yo-yo

yo-yo

noun plural -yos

a toy consisting of a spool attached to a string, the end of which is held while it is repeatedly spun out and reeled in
US and Canadian slang a stupid person, esp one who is easily manipulated

verb yo-yos, yo-yoing or yo-yoed (intr)

informal to change repeatedly from one position to another; fluctuate

adjective

informal changing repeatedly; fluctuating

Word Origin for yo-yo

from Filipino yo yo, come come, a weapon consisting of a spindle attached to a thong
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

Word Origin and History for yo-yo
n.

1915, apparently from a language of the Philippines. Registered as a trademark in Vancouver, Canada, in 1932, the year the first craze for them began (subsequent fads 1950s, 1970s, 1998). The toy itself is much older and was earlier known as bandalore (1824). Figurative sense of any "up-and-down movement" is first recorded 1932. Meaning "stupid person" is recorded from 1970. The verb in the figurative sense is attested from 1967.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper