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Welcome to Weird Word Wednesday! It’s time for our midweek dose of drollery, so without further ado, I give you yex.

Yes, yex.

It means to burp, hiccup, or belch.

I wanted a straightforward definition of the cause, so I turned to the experts at Mayo Clinic. They explained that burping is caused by “swallowed air or the breakdown of food through digestion.” For a lighter take on things, I checked with Kids’ Health, who reassured young readers, saying “burping is almost always never anything to worry about.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a kid become worried after a burp – quite the opposite, actually. And whether it’s intentional or not, burping and hiccuping, especially during or after meals, are looked at differently depending on the culture you’re in.



In America, I’ve noticed that about the only people who can get away with audible burps after a meal are babies and old people. We teach our children to cover their mouths when they feel a burp rising, and this practice continues into adulthood. I really don’t know when some adults give up on this, but over the years, I’ve heard one or two people who were real chandelier rattlers when it came to a good yex.

In other cultures, burps are celebrated as a postprandial rite of passage. Burps are a sign of appreciation for the cook in some Eskimo cultures and countries like India and Canada. The World Burping Federation, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, celebrates yexers who really let one sail, embracing “burping as a natural part of the human digestive process.”

According to them, the current record for the longest yex is 18.1 seconds. Hmmmm…that might be a competition I’d skip, but have at it if you’re a yexer.

bill watterson

bill watterson

In other countries, a blatant yex will earn you a disdainful scowl from your tablemates. Audible body functions just aren’t amusing in some parts of the world!

omg-two-dogs-in-a-restaurantOn their first date, Neal took Yolanda to The Codfather for a lobster dinner. The atmosphere was marred by a yex from Yolanda that made the china clatter. Needless to say, the evening went downhill after that.

For those who’d rather keep their yexes to themselves, I leave you with practical advice from Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus (1466 – 1536):

“Retain the wind by compressing the belly.”