The word yodel comes from the German word for the action, jodeln, which comes from yo, an onomatopoeic expression of "joy", or a word literally meaning "joy". But even though it's a word that sounds like "joy" with the same meaning, we can't trace it to the origins of "joy". It's definitely a possibility that it may have been influenced by the latter, but yodel honestly seems like it's imitative in origin. Weird. Anyway, the word joy comes to us from Old French joie, from Latin gaudia. While both meanings could be interpreted to be the same as today, both definitely also had sexual connotations as well. Looking at the infinitive gaudere, this ultimately this is from a Proto-Indo-European root sounding like gahu or gau, which had a definition more along the lines of "rejoice". Now, this is beyond the book, but I would not be surprised in the least if yodel also traced to that. The given etymologies we take for granted are always incomplete and sometimes inaccurate, so who knows?
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd