Most internet users know two things about furries: They like to wear fursuits in public and they enjoy “yiffing.” One BuzzFeed article, for example, wrote about New Jersey police cracking down on a furry barbecue “due to yiffing.” Yiff’s meaning is an infamous one, and as you may have guessed, it has to do with sex. It’s also been around for nearly three decades, predating iconic furry sites like FurAffinity and Tumblr. It’s part of furry history: Our ancestors yiffed, their ancestors yiffed, and chances are if you’re a furry, you yiff too. So, if you want to know what “yiff” is, where it came from, and what it means to “yiff” someone, read on for our deep dive into all things yiffy. The following article contains sexually explicit images.
What does yiff mean, and where did it come from?
What is yiffing?
“Yiff” is an “onomatopoetic word and/or sound” used “as an expression of sexual interest or activity,” according to WikiFur. “Yiff” is also a catch-all term for furry sex, sexual material in the furry community, or erotic roleplays. It can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Here are some examples:
- “I’m glad you like my work, I’m a huge fan of yiff myself.”
- “Are those two catboys yiffing at the barbecue?”
- “Yiff artists, please refrain from posting your porn in our Facebook group.”
These days, “yiff” is most commonly used as a tongue-in-cheek term referring to sexual roleplay between furries, not unlike saying “internet sex” or “computer sex.” However, “yiff” is still used unironically for erotic play, sexual activity (“yiffing”), and, perhaps most commonly, as an adjective for erotic content. “Yiff” is pronounced like “stiff,” “cliff,” “sniff,” and other “-iff” words.
What’s the history behind yiff and yiffing?
No definitive account exists on yiff’s emergence. WikiFur points to Foxen, a furry roleplayer who created a furspeak language called “Foxish” based on various cute, onomatopoetic words for foxes’ yelps and yips. In Foxish, “yiff” was originally a sound of pleasure or delight. It was purely platonic in nature and was commonly used as a greeting. Yiff’s sexual definition stems from another word: yipp. In a 2001 retrospective posted on Everything2 by a user claiming to be Foxen, the user alleges another unnamed furry took the word “yipp” and turned it into “a sexual proposition,” thereby making it “generally considered not polite.” “Later on, some wolves redefined yiff to more or less take the place of yipp, as a generic term for sex,” the post says. “It soon became a noun, a verb, an adjective, and about as many other parts of speech as smurf.”
Most controversial of all is Yiff.Party, a piracy website that hosts content stolen from yiff artists on Patreon. The site was originally created as an experiment, although its popularity skyrocketed after it was posted on 8chan, Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio wrote in 2018. “Knowing that people out there would rather pirate my work than spare $10 or even $1 to support me making more work hurts a lot. It makes a lot harder to feel like what I do is worth the time and effort,” one furry artist told Kotaku. While several sites with pirated material use “yiff” in their names, the word isn’t synonymous with piracy. Yiffer.xyz, for example, actively avoids hosting copyrighted adult content. Just as “porn” can be used to describe legal and pirated content alike, so can “yiff.” So go ahead, yiff all you want. Just remember to yiff responsibly.
Credit- Ana Valens