What Is "Yaka-Wow?"

It started with a typo in an interview transcript with a British neuroscientist, but within hours it became a way of life; behold "yaka-wow," The London Times reported Friday.

Within a day, the new word, which describes the mental abilities of computer nerds, had gone viral.

“The main reason we’ve all been saying yaka-wow is simply because it is a cool word. It should be used more. Try saying it yourself out loud, yaka-wow, yaka-wow. Doesn’t it just make your mouth happy,” posted Alice Bell, a science communication lecturer at Imperial College London.

Google offered up 75,000 results for “yaka-wow” in 24 hours. It has already inspired a Twitter stream, a Facebook page and mugs. Now, it is a burgeoning personal philosophy: I think, therefore, I yaka-wow.

The website Boingboing started the First Church of the Yaka-Wow. “FCY-W welcomes breezy people into a world with no consequences,” says the sign.

“Is Yaka-wow phonetic for Eyjafjallajokull,” someone wrote, referring to the Icelandic volcano that wreaked a week of havoc for travelers.

The word is actually a transcription error of “yuck and wow,” a phrase prominent British neuroscientist Lady Greenfield used to describe the way people act online, flipping from games to Facebook to YouTube.

The scientist was describing how those who live only in a virtual world do not let their malleable brains develop properly. “Is it going to be a planet worth living in if you have a load of breezy people who go around saying yaka-wow. Is that the society we want?” she apparently warned in the original report in The Times.

It is, according to hundreds of thousands of computer nerds. One called it, “Kumbaya for the 21st century. A world of people saying ‘yaka-wow’ is better than a world of people shooting each other and smoking.”

“Yaka-wow not war” T-shirts are now available for purchase in ten different colors.