Where did the term ‘yips’ come from?

golf ball hole
I got worried when this popped into my inbox. It was the Merriam-Webster dictionary‘s take on the word “yips”.

It is something I’ve been lucky to avoid so far but I usually dare not speak the name, just in case it sticks to me or some unsuspecting golfer who was walking past at the time. I was interested in what they had to say about where the term may have come from. It is a little vague and unknown but I give it to you here all the same;

“Who first dubbed an athlete’s stress under pressure the “yips”? We’re not sure. We also can’t say for certain if this plural noun has anything to do with the singular “yip,” a word of imitative origin meaning “a short bark (as of a dog).” Some theories equate the “yip” sound made by a small dog with the unfortunate habit some athletes have of flinching or “hiccupping” when a steady hand is called for. What we do know for certain is that sportswriters have been using “yips” since 1962 and that it most often appears in golf-related contexts.”

Now go back to whatever you were doing and forget you ever heard the word.

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