noun: a naive or gullible inhabitant of a rural area or small town
The yokels at the gas station looked at us funny when we walked in, but they were friendly and obliging when we asked them for directions.
“Who stumbles across him but the thugs that ransacked the house Rick was staying in just a few episodes ago. They surround him and attempt to rob him of his crossbow (and the vest – ‘I like them wings’ one yokel says), but Daryl manages to bloody the leader’s nose and aim his crossbow at him, forcing them all into a standoff.” — From an episode recap by Nicole Pesce on the New York Daily News’s Channel Surfer blog, March 24, 2014
Did you know?
The origins of “yokel” are uncertain, but it might have come from the dialectal English word “yokel,” meaning “green woodpecker.” Other words for supposedly naive country folk are “chawbacon” (from “chaw,” meaning “chew,” and “bacon”), “hayseed” (which has obvious connections to country life), and “clodhopper” (indicating a clumsy, heavy-footed rustic). But city slickers don’t always have the last word: rural folk have had their share of labels for city-dwellers too. One simple example from current use is the often disparaging use of the adjective “citified.” A more colorful (albeit historical) example is “cockney,” which literally means “cock’s egg,” or more broadly “misshapen egg.” In the past, this word often designated a spoiled or foppish townsman—as opposed to the sturdy countryman, that is.