or yuk

[ yuhk ]
/ yʌk /
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interjection Slang.
(used as an expression of disgust or repugnance): Yuck, it's spinach again!
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Origin of yuck

An Americanism dating back to 1965–70; expressive word
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does yuck mean?

Yuck is an informal word you say when you think something is gross or disgusting.

It’s an interjection, which is a term used to express an emotion or indicate how you feel about something, typically outside of a sentence.

Yuck is primarily used to indicate that you think a food is particularly disgusting or unappetizing. It can be used upon actually tasting something or simply upon looking at it, smelling, or maybe even feeling it—you might say yuck if something feels slimy, for example.

Yuck is also sometimes used to express disgust about other things, such as something filthy or unpleasant weather, as in It’s so hot and sticky outside. Yuck.

The adjective yucky is based on yuck and means gross, disgusting, or unappetizing. Yucky is associated with its use by children and is often thought of as a childish term. (While yuck is often used by children, especially those refusing to eat their vegetables, it’s commonly used in many ways that don’t sound childish.) Yuck is sometimes used in an even more informal way to mean about the same thing as yucky, as in My day was just yuck. 

The word yum can be thought of as the opposite of yuck, especially in response to food. Yum is an interjection used to indicate that you think something is delicious or looks appetizing. Like yuck, it can also be used in contexts other than food, such as to express that something is appealing.

An even more informal variant of yuck is yucko, which can be used both as an interjection and an adjective.

Yuck is sometimes used as an alternate spelling of the term yuk, which can be a noun meaning a loud laugh or a verb meaning to laugh or joke. (The spelling yuk can also be used as a variant of the interjection yuck.)

Example: Broccoli? Yuck! I’d rather eat my own socks.

Where does yuck come from?

The first written records of the interjection yuck come from around the 1960s, but expressions that sound like it have certainly been used for much longer. Expressive words like yuck (and ew, which is first recorded around the same time) are formed in imitation of the sounds people make in reaction to things. Yuck is thought to have originated in the U.S., at least in print.

Yuck is most closely associated with yucky foods, but it can be used in all kinds of contexts. You could say yuck when you yourself are feeling sick, as in Yuck, I hate feeling like this. You could say yuck in response to stepping in something gross, or seeing the inside of a filthy dumpster, or smelling someone’s burp (I know—yuck!). Yuck can also be used in other less traditional ways, such as to indicate disgust at the prospect of doing something you don’t want to do, as in I have to spend the whole weekend studying. Yuck. It can also be used in situations in which you encounter something that you want to jokingly say is nauseating, like a public display of affection that’s too public or too affectionate.

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What are some other forms related to yuck?

  • yuch (less common alternate spelling)
  • yuk (rare alternate spelling)
  • yucky (adjective)

What are some synonyms for yuck?

What are some words that often get used in discussing yuck?


How is yuck used in real life?

Yuck is very informal. It’s especially used to express disgust over particular foods.



Try using yuck!

Is yuck used correctly in the following sentence?

Oh, yuck, this yogurt expired seven years ago.

How to use yuck in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for yuck



/ (jʌk) /

slang an exclamation indicating contempt, dislike, or disgust
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