Slang is undoubtedly one of the more interesting aspects of language; nothing enables you to track what's going on in a culture in real time in quite the same way. Sometimes, though, slang comes and goes so quickly I find myself having difficulty keeping up with it. Take this one for instance: Where does “YAAAS” come from? I mean, we all use it approximately 80 times a day — but how did it get so popular? Why did we all suddenly start changing the “e” in “yes” to an “a” and then elongating it as much as possible? I realized today I had absolutely no idea, so I decided to do a little digging to see if I could get to the bottom of it. If you, too, are curious about the origins of “YAAAS,” gather round — here's what I found out:
What Does It Mean?
You probably don't need me to tell you what “YAAAS” means, but just so we're covering all our bases, here you go: A variation on the word “yes,” it's an expression of excitement or approval. The Urban Dictionary defines it alternately as:
“A word used to express extreme excitement, usually followed by a swift fist pump. Can also be used to agree with someone who has a great idea.”
“A word that occurs when you can't express how you feel about someone or something, usually followed by admiring that someone or something and being super excited also.”
Admittedly, the first definition is a little more succinct, but they both generally get at the same idea: When you're SO EFFING EXCITED about something that you have no other words for it, you yell “YAAAAAAAAAAS!” Simple enough, right?
Where Does It Come From?
Here, however, is where it starts getting a little less simple: Where on earth does this ubiquitous phrase come from? I'm super unhip and have no idea what the cool kids are saying these days, but it seems as if it has only started to gain steam over the past year or two. Why? What was the inciting incident, if you will? The one that inspired the whole thing?
As far as I have been able to determine, it all started here, with Lady Gaga:
The video first appeared on an Instagram account that no longer exists, which makes me sad, because I will never be able to watch it in its original form. But according to MTV News, the man behind the camera was one Johnny Versayce. From that one Instagram video, an entire meme was born — one which BuzzFeed has documented extensively, so I'll send you over there to take a look at some of the most notable examples.
How Did It Evolve?
Interestingly, though, over time, the “Gaga” bit appears to have gotten dropped. I'm unclear about when “YAAAS GAGA” got shortened to simply “YAAAS,” but these days, that seems to be its primary usage. Is it because interest in Gaga herself has waned? Is it because the Internet has an incredibly short memory? Both? Neither? Alas, these are all questions to which I do not have any answers. Regardless, though, “YAAAS” has proven to have an unexpected amount of staying power. Even cats like it:
So go forth, my friends. “YAAAS” your tender little hearts out. Gaga would want you to.
Images: Giphy (3)