Yahoo! users only learning what name really means

Yahoo! has been around for more than three decades, but did you know the name actually has a hidden meaning?

Before Google became most people’s go-to, Yahoo! was the internet’s premier search engine. Some might even argue Yahoo! paved the way for Google’s success.

For more than three decades, the site has been a crucial tool for internet users worldwide.

However, it’s only recently that many have discovered what the name truly stands for.

Yahoo! was created by co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994. Initially dubbed Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web, it quickly underwent a rebrand to Yahoo! just three months later.

Fast forward thirty years and internet enthusiasts are shocked to learn the real meaning behind Yahoo!’s name.

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Many were blissfully unaware of the fact that it is a backronym, which means “an acronym formed from an already existing word by expanding its letters into the words of a phrase.”

One person guessed the meaning of the name, humorously writing: “I thought it was You Always Have Other Options.”

Another added: “It’s a backronym and I don’t care how many Yahoo flacks say otherwise.”

The creators, both postgraduate students in electrical engineering, settled on the domain in January 1995. They were primarily attracted to the term’s definition in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels – “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.”

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In reality, Yahoo! is a backronym for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Yahoo saw a surge in popularity in the late ’90s, mirroring other search behemoths such as MSN, Lycos and Excite, which resulted in its share price doubling in December 1999.

A mere six months afterwards, Yahoo and Google brokered a deal that placed Google at the helm of search operations on However, numerous critics claim Yahoos downfall is attributed to questionable acquisitions, declining Microsofts bid, and missing the boat on Facebook.


    One person wrote: “Keep in mind, Google, Facebook, et al, may not have become what they are today if Yahoo had bought them. They’ve made such poor decisions it’s likely they’d have run them into the ground still.”

    Someone else added: “I am old and remember the days when Yahoo was booming. Where it all changed was when Google became their search and they allowed it to be branded Google. It did not take long before basically Google had ‘stole’ all of Yahoo’s customers. I was thinking at the time how crazy it was for Yahoo to allow Google to be branded instead of using in the background without any Google branding.”

    Another person mused: “I remember in early 2000s everyone’s browser homepage was Yahoo (at least in Hong Kong, to be exact). It had got everything, daily news highlights, email, dictionary, search engine. It still feels incredible that we’ve got rid of Yahoo in favour of a blank search engine page nowadays.”

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