August 18, 2004

It's Yipes? Yikes!

In the fine tradition of caramel, can we get to the bottom of something?

I've always thought the old cartoony exclamation was "YIKES!"

But recently I have heard some people say "Yipes!" Including a really smart person I respect. It's even on one of my kid's albums he listens to "...Polka-dots, checks and stripes. Yipes!"

It is now causing me to question my entire world view.

Which is it?! The comment board is currently closed.

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Posted by Steven | Archive

My vote is for Yikes, just seems like what I remember from the cartoon days of long ago...

Posted by: talonX at August 18, 2004 8:26 AM

Man, it's 'Yikes!'. Period. Who the hell says 'Yipes!'?, just some soft ass metrosexual fence sitting elitists. Forget them. We know it's 'Yikes!', and if anyone steps up I'd reply with a sharp "Shut up FOOL!".

P.S. First post! First post! LOLLOLLLOLOLOL!!!!

Posted by: FooMaster at August 18, 2004 8:30 AM

I've always thought it was "Yikes", too, but don't forget:

Yipes! Stripes!
Beech-Nut's got 'em!
Yipes! Stripes!
In Beech-Nut gum!

Posted by: gwalchmai at August 18, 2004 8:34 AM

That Beech-nut thing is very interesting. Maybe it was always Yikes until people desperately wanted it to rhyme with "stripes."

I'd love to find out where the whole thing derived from.

Posted by: Steve at August 18, 2004 8:42 AM

I checked with Here's what I found.
Yipes is "Used to express surprise, fear, or dismay."

Yikes is "Used to express mild fear or surprise."

To put it another way, yikes is yipes light, or so it seems. lists no origin for the words so I can't tell if they're mistaken in this. Anyone have an old dictionary that only lists one of the words?

Incidently, "yipes" can be used in the singular form. One yipe instead of many yipes.

Posted by: Nick at August 18, 2004 8:45 AM

It's yikes... I just looked it up in the dictionary...

yikes - used to express fear or astonishment

This is not like the time that I argued that irregardless was not a word (I still say that it's not a very good word, but it is in Websters).

Posted by: brent at August 18, 2004 8:45 AM

Crap! It is in there...

Posted by: brent at August 18, 2004 8:47 AM

No, no, no.

Yipes, stripes!

Posted by: fxb at August 18, 2004 8:54 AM

Well, what do the characters of 'Scooby Doo' say? I think "yipes" is used more frequently in the cartoon, and "yikes" is what the fans say more often. do a search on google for "yipes scooby doo" versus "yikes scooby doo" and you'll see the difference in terms of the official gear that's offered with "yipes" as opposed to "yikes".


Posted by: Mandalei at August 18, 2004 8:58 AM

"Yipes" sounds vaguely Canadian to me. Kind of like how they say "aboot" instead of "about".

Posted by: felix at August 18, 2004 8:59 AM

Actually, I think the Velma from Scooby Doo used to say, "Jinkies!" But that's a whole other kettle of fish.

I think both Yikes and Yipes are a little anachronistic. It's what you say when a dandy challenges you to fisticuffs and boxes your ears. WTF works fine for me.

Posted by: rectalhorror at August 18, 2004 9:04 AM

"Yipes" is ridonkydonk. I think they mean "cripes."

Yikes all the way.

Posted by: jamie at August 18, 2004 9:05 AM


I'm Canadian, and I've never in my life said "Yipes". It's always "Yikes" or maybe "Yikes, eh".

I've also never said "aboot". More of a Scottish thing, that, eh.

Posted by: Pat at August 18, 2004 9:06 AM

I think it's one of those cases where both are considered acceptable anymore, but as far as the cartoon origins go, it was always "Yipe!"

Go back to those old Bugs Bunny cartoons and have another look.

Posted by: Kristy at August 18, 2004 9:23 AM

Definitely "Yikes!"
"Yipes" seems to be more of a noise.

Posted by: Megan at August 18, 2004 9:30 AM

It would seem either would be appropriate. I thought it was yikes as well. I am such a lemming.

Posted by: Strode at August 18, 2004 9:44 AM

I've always used "Yikes", like when riding on the back of a motorcycle swerving in and out of traffic; I would use the vernacular "Yikes". I find it interesting that has a listing for "Yipes" because Merriam-Webster does not. Which brings to question which is the better authority? Interestingly, Merriam-Webster etymology of “Yikes” is defined as “probably alteration of yoicks” (Yoicks: used as a cry of encouragement to foxhounds”).

Posted by: Stephen at August 18, 2004 9:55 AM

It's always been Yikes! to me. Yipe is what a dog does when you step on it's tail.

Posted by: Steve at August 18, 2004 10:19 AM

I say write to William Safire--he'll bring in the usage SWAT team, figure out the origins of both and explain when to use yipes and when yikes is more appropriate.

Posted by: J Strizzy at August 18, 2004 10:23 AM

Google says that there are more references to Yikes than Yipes....
42,300 for yiPes
561,000 for yiKes.

Posted by: larry mcmurtry at August 18, 2004 10:38 AM


Posted by: Joel at August 18, 2004 11:00 AM

Merriam-Webster doesn't even acknowlege "yipes"; "yikes" is the proper word:

Posted by: Betty at August 18, 2004 11:04 AM

I think in most situations, anyone would understand what you were trying to get across with both YIKES and YIPES. But come on..yikes just sounds better.

Posted by: Kristen at August 18, 2004 11:15 AM

It's just gotta be Yikes! C'mon!

Posted by: Oje at August 18, 2004 11:45 AM

There seems to be a preference for yikes, and I agree. Maybe we're witnessing a moment of linguistic evolution in which "Yipes" becomes valid, but only after about 75 to 100 years of floating vaguely around. I think it's easy to invent words now. You can perpetuate them through media a lot more. We could all splinter off from the majority in to a "No Yipes" society that becomes a watchdog for misuse. Or we could just say Yikes much more distinctly and hope people make a mental note of the "k" sound.Hmmm...

Posted by: Kim at August 18, 2004 11:54 AM

Kick a small dog and it says Yip!
Kick an average-sized dog and it says Yipes!
Kick a large dog and it will bite your f'in nuts off. (Yikes!)

Posted by: Patrick at August 18, 2004 12:04 PM

The "K" sound is far funnier than "P."

"Yikes" should win out on that alone.

Posted by: Rob at August 18, 2004 12:16 PM


Posted by: Victoria at August 18, 2004 12:55 PM

Yikes, definitely. Patrick, I literally spit when I read your comment. Is that my gum over there?

Posted by: Scott at August 18, 2004 1:08 PM

Perhaps yipes is a corruption of yikes, like yiddish was a corruption of german? I have to get back to combing mr. brady's toupees...

Posted by: Mel Cooley at August 18, 2004 2:23 PM

I honestly can't think of a time when I've heard anyone use 'Yipes', but I have heard 'Yipe' and 'Yikes'. The Mid-Atlantic is a strange region of the US.

Posted by: Jenno at August 18, 2004 2:43 PM

Definitely Yikes. Absolutely, without doubt, no question. Anyone who says differently is selling something. If it's Yipes, then the terrorists have already won.

Posted by: Steve at August 18, 2004 2:59 PM

The sign that I, Super Genius Wile E. Coyote, hold up before falling off various cliffs reads, "Yipes".

Posted by: Wile E. Coyote at August 18, 2004 3:38 PM

I always remembered it to be "yikes" was on the signs and "yipes" were spoken in cartoons.

Posted by: Dejai at August 18, 2004 3:52 PM

sorry "yikes" was written on signs

"yipes" was spoken

Posted by: Dejai at August 18, 2004 3:55 PM

I usually just say "crap". My little brother who is four says "oh my hyit". Fortunatly he can't pronounce sh*t otherwise he'd probably be in trouble.
Could we dump Yikes and Yipes in favour of Zoinks? Another scooby contribution to the world of made-up terror.

Posted by: AngelCat at August 18, 2004 4:27 PM

No! lol there would we grew to 'love' [well me anyways lol] is 'yikes'. Yipes just sound lame in my opinion. I agree with foomaster. WELL SAID. [applauds].

Posted by: UrbanIdentity at August 18, 2004 4:54 PM

Yes, it's yikes. Don't listen to them, they're all delusional.

Posted by: crookedfinger at August 18, 2004 5:17 PM

Why can't both words exist? It's okay....

Posted by: duchess_k at August 18, 2004 5:50 PM


now thats the word to use to "express surprise, fear, or dismay".

yikes or yipes, no offence to anyone but they both sound a bit ;P

Posted by: ray at August 18, 2004 6:10 PM

I'm gonna have to go with yikes, because i found myself in the same situation a couple years ago.

Posted by: Kilroy Jones at August 18, 2004 6:23 PM

Shaggy says Zoinks!

Scoopy tries to say Zoinks! but of course he says




Posted by: Alex at August 18, 2004 6:53 PM

I would have thought that yikes and yipes would be pretty much equally common. What do I know. I know that in real life, "yiiiiii!" is much more common.

Posted by: Glen at August 18, 2004 7:41 PM

It's yikes. Yipes! is a hybrid of yikes! and cripes!

My favorite is criminy, prounounced crime-n-ee.

My dad commonly announced "Great Caesar's Honk!" while watching football, but I still don't quite get that one although I always found it funny. I digress.

Posted by: Debbie at August 18, 2004 9:30 PM

I think that they are both correct in their own way, although I prefer Yikes for my own purposes. The phonetic that I have trouble with is "Woot". When have you ever heard anyone use a word that sounded like woot?

Posted by: momosan at August 18, 2004 9:43 PM

it's "YIKES"...

Yipes is ugly.


Posted by: ade at August 19, 2004 1:23 AM

I go for YIKES! because it is what I am used to in cartoons

Posted by: Tom at August 19, 2004 2:06 AM

Steve, dogs "yip" when you step on their tail, they don't "yipe". I actually say both, sort of. I say yikes! to indicate negative surprise when refering to another person, as in "You mean Fred fell off the roof, fell on some nails and punctured his scrotum?YIKES!" When as i would say "YIPE!" ( no "s") if it were my scrotum about to be punctured. People who add and "S" to yipe are most likley the Gomer Pylish yokel types who call carbonated beverages "pop" instead of "soda" ( "guuuuuuuuuuh, I'd like a pop!")and refer to their mother's sister as their "ant" instead of their aunt.

Posted by: james nolan at August 19, 2004 3:04 AM

I agree! Maybe the answer is simply ‘both are correct’
To me the expressions ‘yikes‘ and ‘yipes’ are similar to the word ‘cool’. The word cool can exist in similar ways (eg. Kewl, cool and kool). The dictionary may not accept words like ‘kewl’ but it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist.
But if I were going to say one of them it would be Yikes!

Posted by: elaine at August 19, 2004 3:07 AM

They're two separate words.

But why waste time on expressing any level of surprise in these terms when there are so many perfectly useful swear words around, just waiting to be used when expressing yourself?

Only GEEKS say yipes or yikes...

(Just kidding...I just said yikes yesterday. OMG! Maybe I'm a geek!)

Posted by: k at August 19, 2004 5:31 AM

James, I disagree. I've never heard a dog say yip. My dogs have always said yipe. Maybe it's regional. I also find it hard to believe that you say yipe while awaiting the puncture of your scrotum.

Posted by: Steve at August 19, 2004 5:46 AM

I'm gonna have to go with "Yikes". "Yipes" looks like some kind of typographical error to me, and it sounds like an inedible fish.

Posted by: HazelEyedPisces at August 19, 2004 6:23 AM

YI[K]ES is to FUC[K]
YI[P]ES is to FUC[P]

Whoever uses Yipes can go FUCP themselves.

Posted by: Doug at August 19, 2004 7:00 AM

Well, I've always been a "YIKES!" kinda guy, but here's the tally from my son's "Scooby Doo" comic book: ZOINKS!, YAAAA!, YIPE!, YYYIPE!, YIIIPPE!, YIII!, YAAAAAHH!, OOWWROOO!, and a YIKES! What does this all mean? It means that Velma is a lot hotter than I remember her, that's what it means! JINKIES, indeed!

Posted by: chocky at August 19, 2004 7:33 AM

I think both Yikes and Yipes are acceptable, but what I wanna know is, what acid tripping cartoonist came up with "JINKIES!".

Posted by: GonzoJohn at August 19, 2004 8:27 AM

Your all wrong its Yiqes and its latin for bong water!

Posted by: Yiqes Man at August 19, 2004 8:48 AM

Yip/kes be damned I want you to eat the brain!!!


Posted by: MikeBar at August 19, 2004 8:58 AM

Putting it together:

Yipes! is a modern corruption of "Yikes!," based on the exclamation "Yipe!" These are words with traditional (variant but mostly agreeable-upon) meanings:

Yikes! is more like "Whoa!" in the sense of "Ouch!" or "Close call." It's definitely more of a considered commentary--some distance between the speaker and the thing reacted to.

Yipe! is more like "Eek!," an in-the-moment jolt of surprise (probably moreso than pain).

YIPES! is really neither of the above. I think the original corruption came from the ad agency wanting to rhyme "stripes." Ignorant kids followed along, and now the language must make room for yipes! as a synonym for yikes!, I guess.

Posted by: rik at August 19, 2004 8:58 AM

Something just occurred to me:


They all seem to be variations on Christ, as a way of not technically taking the Lord's name in vain.

Posted by: rectalhorror at August 19, 2004 9:18 AM

I could see cripes or krikey having their root in "Christ", but yipes and yikes are pushing it.

And, if anyone cares, my Webster's dictionary from 1954 doesn't list "yipes" or "yikes".

As for "Great Caesar's Honk!", if I remember corectly, in the old black and white Superman TV show, Perry White frequently said "Great Caesar's Ghost!" Could be from that...

Posted by: Jazzy at August 19, 2004 10:05 AM

I vote for Yikes.

P.S. in answer to Nick's posting on August 18th -- No mention of either word in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (G & C. Merriam Co., 1913)

Posted by: assjack at August 19, 2004 10:44 AM

Yipes rhymes with wipes, as I'd imagine the product would be called: Yipe's Wipes! Try 'em and see, you'll never go back to paper for pee!

Or some such nonsense..

Honestly, yipes just sounds dumb. And I've been watching cartoons and reading comics for more than 40 years! Yeah, yeah, I know. Old.


Posted by: Nathan at August 19, 2004 1:31 PM

Of course it is Yikes. And it probably does come from "yoiks". Ala Daffy Duck, "Yoiks and away...(thud), yoiks and away...(thud).

Posted by: devilmoth at August 19, 2004 1:54 PM

Could Yipes be some sort of duration from Yipee?

Posted by: Nicole at August 19, 2004 2:40 PM

momosan said:

"The phonetic that I have trouble with is "Woot". When have you ever heard anyone use a word that sounded like woot?"

David from the Real World: New Orleans used to say "Woot" all the time. He used it as a cheer ("Good rapping, Julie! Woot woot!"), as a substitute for "yadda yadda" ("And he was all, you gotta do this and that and woot woot."), and as a way to show that he's a dipshit (see above).

. . . What? I'm the only one that knew that?

I think James Nolan's got it --

Yikes is used as a synonym for "Whoa" or "Aww, crap" (spoken in a situation removed from the frightening event). "Yipe" or "yipes" is a synonym for "Aeeei!" (screamed as you realize that bus is headed right for you). And "hrculp" is the sound that my nose makes when this site makes me laugh so hard I can't breath.

Posted by: matt at August 19, 2004 4:33 PM


Yipes from Yipee? Yipes is an exclamation of terror, whereas Yipee tends to be a cheer of joy. I can't imagine the two are related.

Maybe Yipes is one of those new Bushisms.

Actually, I think Yipes seems more like a noun. "I finally cleaned out my couch. I found tons of yipes under the cushions." In fact, now that I think about it, I am fairly sure that "Yipes" are the physical embodiment of all that makes one think "Yikes!"

Posted by: Lordleiter at August 19, 2004 4:39 PM

Look at old cartoons. When a cartoon character was just about to fall 10,000 feet, often, they would hold up a sign that said either "Yipes" or "Yikes" (I'm not sure which)...then they would DROP. So check the cartoons. Whatever they did, there's your answer.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Mooga at August 19, 2004 5:44 PM

I don't know which is "correct." I would say both are acceptable. But I know this: Yikes is cool. Yipes is gay.

If I was hanging out with a friend, and he said "Yikes" - to me, that's like a cool way of saying "Holy shit" or "Jesus Christ."

If he said "Yipes," I would simply wonder why he enjoyed the taste of semen so much.

Once again: Yikes = cool. Yipes = gay. You choose.

Posted by: Cameron at August 19, 2004 5:54 PM

OK, well. I said neither until I was influenced by a close friend. Now it's "yikes" always. "Yipes" is what dogs say when you stand on their foot. Or is that real estate agents? One of them. I'm gunna go check....

Posted by: HP at August 19, 2004 7:59 PM

I say Yikes AND I say Crikes!

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 19, 2004 10:29 PM

Well well well FooMaster... Look who has the last laugh lolololol. HAHAHA you idiot! Your post was not first, some evil genious mastermind beat you to the punch. While you were typing your post, he must have somehow known, been alerted (perhaps a vibe, or maybe he was watching you and you didn't even know it!)then rushed his first comment in; all in the directive to crush your puny spirit. Well... How does it feel? You feel insignificant? small? belittled? like your life no longer matters? Does your very soul seem to no longer be? Anyways I just wanted to say that and that I dig your nick name. Keep it real.

Posted by: ManGuyMan at August 20, 2004 3:59 AM

My ESPN told me he was typing a post so I sniped one in there, YIKES ! I also got the first post in Brainwatch 2004. Its almost as if I have been stalking Steve, waiting for him to open a post with an open comment board, then sniping in the first post.

....or I just happend to check the site right after an update.

Posted by: talonX at August 20, 2004 6:38 AM

Both, Yikes is more acceptable, but if you go back and watch Roadrunner & Wile E. Coyote cartoons, you'll notice several times that a sign is being held with "Yipes" clearly exemplifying the terror that crazy canine is feeling, as he plummets 1000+ feet towards one of his many humorous deaths only to come back and subject himself to frustration and embarrassment because he can't catch that stupid fucking bird.....Arggh....just shoot that fucker and be done with it!!!!!!!

Posted by: CP at August 20, 2004 7:32 AM

Maybe it's only yipes if your a canine. I still think it's Yikes though.

Posted by: StinkytheCat at August 20, 2004 8:15 AM

American Heritage Dictionary,
Second College Edition,
Copyright 1982

yipe/yipes: Used to express surprise, fear, or dismay.

There is NO 'yikes' listed!

Yip Yip Yippee!

Posted by: solaria at August 20, 2004 8:47 AM

I think the old Bugs Bunny cartoons actually said "Yipe!" instead of "Yipes!". I've always just used Yipe without the S.

Posted by: Hatch at August 20, 2004 8:48 AM

alright you freaks. it is SO SO SO ...YIKES. why are there even this many posts about something that is so clearly a non-issue? yipes even FEELS weird to TYPE. doesn't that give ANYONE the hint about how utterly queer and retarded that word is? and fuck the crap, because I play yahoo literati which has word checking by, and you should SEE the crap that gets accepted as real is INFURIATING.

You might "yipes" if your like 75, retired and sit in a rocking chair alot with a plaid blanket on your lap, and then...that shit is cute and endearing. but if your playing with the big boys and girls, and you're driving your fast car zipping in and out of the fast lane blasting your radio and giving the finger to people in ford festivas...then your on the yikes train people. present you ticket to get punched.

Posted by: nicole at August 20, 2004 9:16 AM

"Yikes" and "yipes" are not mutally exclusive. They are two words that mean the same thing, possibly derived from the latin "yikependium," meaning "to display mild fear or surprise."

Posted by: Kate at August 20, 2004 12:58 PM

>>>>You might "yipes" if your like 75, retired and sit in a rocking chair alot with a plaid blanket on your lap<<<

Why do you have to be 75 to sit in a rocking chair with a blanket in your lap?

Posted by: Kevin Walsh at August 20, 2004 8:38 PM

Who cares, I'm still reeling over the Rubber Ducky, home-wrecker post.

Posted by: Hubaloo at August 21, 2004 8:43 AM

My interpretation is that "Yikes" is expressing shock, which "Yipes" is more fear.

and how 'bout that "Smooth Movin' Boogie?" (Happy to Be at Gymboree... am I really the only other one to recognize the song reference you made?)

Posted by: Mike J at August 21, 2004 9:27 AM

Ha. You are definitely the first one to acknowledge that they are, in fact, the musical stylings of "Parachute Express." Nice job.

Posted by: Steve at August 21, 2004 9:44 AM

you would yipes with a blanket on your lap in a rocking chair because you are OLD if you say yipes. and we know old people say crazy crap.

Posted by: nicole at August 21, 2004 12:00 PM

Nicole is right about "yipes" being an archaic form of "yikes." There was an ad for Fruit Stripe Gum (with the multicolor-striped zebra on the package) in the early-to-mid 70's which sported the slogan, "Yipes! Stripes! Beech-Nut's got 'em!"

"Yikes" started showing up more commonly in cartoons from the early 80's. I seem to remember it from old Scooby-Doo episodes.

Posted by: Allen at August 21, 2004 1:41 PM

Well, is it male or female? It's 2004...maybe you could hyphenate it? You know,like yikes-yipes. I don't think you'd want to be yipes-yikes though... This gets sorta complicated doesn't it?

Posted by: thefoxymama at August 21, 2004 7:24 PM

In response to taking the lords name in vain, I've always preferred "Jebus". As in "Save me Jebus! Jebus where are youuuuuu!!! Jebus!!!!!"
I'll go for Yikes. Yipe sounds like something my best friend does when someone takes a sw-ipe at her. She is also the kind of person who ACTUALLY SAYS *sigh*. And "Understood". She likes due south and can program. This, people, is my best friend, and she's much cooler than me. (She can put the gamecube controller down after a period of time. I'd prefer to beat Ganondorf before I eat/drink/pee.
Off Topic a bit methinks. The point is, Yikes is pretty tame anyway. but Yipe- that's just not cool.

Posted by: AngelCat at August 22, 2004 9:03 AM

Alas, my attempt at being a forum elitist was foiled. I am indeed a broken man.

Posted by: FooMaster at August 22, 2004 7:59 PM

it is SO yikes. End of story.

Posted by: Petra at August 24, 2004 12:11 AM

I personally think it is yikes, the first time yikes was originally thought to be used was in the early 17th century when fox hunters shouted, YOIKES and YIKES to their hounds, after a while fox hunters used it to shout out a cry of suprise. When I looked for yipes the earliest time was the 1940s (introduction to cartoons...)

Well, I guess you use whatever word you comfortable with, WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT.

Posted by: Lucy at August 26, 2004 1:00 AM

I seem to remember a "Yikes" from Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks! ...if that makes a difference to anyone.

Posted by: Shane at August 27, 2004 5:36 PM

Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope uses "Yipes"!

Posted by: just me at August 28, 2004 12:46 PM

After reading all the posts, I can only say that you people need a life. Who cares yipes or yikes...end of story.

Posted by: Mary Kay at September 5, 2004 7:36 PM

wow! the argument rages on....I think both words have been used for exclamations but i perfer "yikes" over 'yipes"..."Yipes is too vague..

Posted by: nrlynrml at September 9, 2004 10:18 AM