[yoh-kuh l]

noun Informal

an unsophisticated person from a rural area; a country bumpkin.

Origin of yokel

First recorded in 1805–15; origin uncertain
Related formsyo·kel·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for yokel

rustic, hayseed, peasant, boor

Examples from the Web for yokel

Historical Examples of yokel

  • 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.

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 Formsyokelish, adjective

Word Origin for yokel

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

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