[ yuhk-ee ]
/ ˈyʌk i /
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adjective, yuck·i·er, yuck·i·est.Slang.
thoroughly unappetizing, disgusting, or repugnant.
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Origin of yucky

First recorded in 1965–70; yuck + -y1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does yucky mean?

Yucky is a very informal adjective meaning gross, disgusting, or unappetizing.

It’s based on yuck, which is an informal word you say when you think something is gross or disgusting. Yuck is an interjection, which is a term used to express an emotion or indicate how you feel about something, typically outside of a sentence.

Yucky is primarily used to describe foods that you think are 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 could describe a food as yucky if it feels slimy, for example.

Yucky is also sometimes used to describe other things considered disgusting, such as something filthy or unpleasant weather, as in The humidity is making it really yucky outside. It can also mean just plain bad, as in My day was yucky. 

Yucky is associated with its use by children and is often thought of as a childish word. (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.)

The word yummy can be thought of as the opposite of yucky, especially in response to food. It’s based on yum, an interjection used to indicate that you think something is delicious or looks appetizing (yum is often thought of as the opposite of yuck). Like yucky, yummy can also be used in contexts other than food, such as to express that something is appealing.

Example: I’d rather eat my own socks than have even one bite of that yucky broccoli. 

Where does yucky come from?

Yucky is an adjective form of the interjection yuck. The first written records of both terms come from around the 1960s, but expressions that sound like yuck 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. The suffix -y is used to make it an adjective.

Yucky is most commonly used to describe foods considered disgusting, but it can be used in all kinds of contexts. You could say you’re feeling yucky when you have a bad cold. You could use it to describe something filthy, like the inside of a dumpster, or something really gross, like the smell of someone’s burp (I know—yucky!). Yucky can also be used in other less traditional ways, such as to describe something as extremely unappealing, as in I have to spend the whole weekend doing this yucky homework.

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What are some other forms related to yucky?

  • yukky (rare alternate spelling)
  • yuchy (rare alternate spelling)
  • yuckier (comparative adjective)
  • yuckiest (superlative adjective)
  • yuck (interjection, adjective)

What are some synonyms for yucky?

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


How is yucky used in real life?

Yucky is very informal and often considered childish. It’s most commonly used to describe foods as disgusting.



Try using yucky!

Is yucky used correctly in the following sentence?

I’m feeling yucky today so I’m going to take a sick day.

How to use yucky in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for yucky



/ (ˈjʌkɪ) /

adjective yuckier, yuckiest, yukkier or yukkiest
slang disgusting; sickening; nasty
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