Yet Another Hierarchically Officious Oracle

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What Does Yet Another Hierarchically Officious Oracle Mean?

Yet Another Hierarchically Officious Oracle is the tongue-in-cheek acronym for Yahoo Inc., the large Internet portal that has, at various times, described itself as a platform company, a social networking company, an advertising company or a content company.

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Techopedia Explains Yet Another Hierarchically Officious Oracle

Yahoo emerged from the efforts of Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994, when they put together a collection of other websites, which they called David and Jerr’s Guide to the World Wide Web. The list’s bookmarks grew long and became arranged in a hierarchical fashion – hence the word in the acronym. The term “oracle” was added because it sounded officious and was supposed to mean authoritative.

Being young Standford graduates with the requisite sense of humor, Yang and Filo likened themselves to the slang definition of a “yahoo,” referring to a rude, unsophisticated or uncouth person.

The term “yahoo” first appeared in the novel “Gulliver’s Travels”, by Jonathan Swift. Yahoos were the deformed, crude, dirty “brutes” of the land of the Houyhnhnms. The Yahoos were depicted as irrational people who represented the worst side of humanity. By contrast, their masters, the wise and gentle Houyhnhnms, were rational horses that represented humanity at its best.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.