Why Do People Yell “Geronimo!” – Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

I remember the first time I climbed to the top of the waterfalls at Mint Brook, a local swimming hole. I was maybe twelve years old and immediately regretted it and wouldn’t jump off. My best friend grabbed my hand, and we jumped off together, but she shouted Geronimo, and I had no idea what it meant. Now I do, and I’m going to explain it to you so you can use it correctly.

What Does Geronimo Mean?

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Geronimo is a word of Native American origin. It’s actually the name of the Apache leader who played a huge role in the resistance against Mexican and American expansion in the late 19th century.

But, like most words and old terms, over time, it’s become synonymous with bravery, courage, and defiance. We often use it as an exclamation to show our excitement for something or as a chant for encouraging friends or teammates, especially in sports and other competitive events.

Why Do People Yell Geronimo?

The exclamation is always used when we’re about to do something daring, adventurous, or exciting, like jumping off a waterfall or taking a leap of faith. It’s a fun way to express your bravery and excitement and psych yourself before a big event.

The word “Geronimo” is also sometimes used by team members or fans as a chant to encourage and inspire each other, especially in sports or other competitive events. It’s a loose term and can be used in just about any situation where you’re excited or trying to drum up some courage.

How to Spell Geronimo

First, it’s always capitalized as it’s taken from a proper name. Spelling it correctly would be G-e-r-o-n-i-m-o. And, if you’re wondering about how to pronounce it right, you say it as jr-aa-nuh-mow.

Using the Word Geronimo in a Sentence

  • “Geronimo!” she shouted as she jumped off the cliff into the ocean below.
  • The crowd erupted in a chorus of “Geronimo!” as the athlete took their final leap.
  • “I’m going to ask her to dance, Geronimo!” he said to his friends.
  • The team rallied together, shouting “Geronimo!” before the big game.
  • “Are you ready for this?” he asked. “Geronimo!” she replied with a grin.
  • The child closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and yelled, “Geronimo!” as he slid down the slippery dip.
  • The skydivers linked arms and shouted “Geronimo!” before they fell out of the plane.
  • “Geronimo!” he shouted as he bungee-jumped off the bridge.
  • The football fans chanted “Geronimo!” as their team took the field.
  • “Let’s do this!” she exclaimed. “Geronimo!” he replied, joining in on the excitement.

If we’re jumping out of a helicopter, yell “Geronimo!” while doing it. Just jump! (Parade Magazine)


That’s a wrap. The word itself is kind of self-explanatory, even if you don’t know its origin. We’ve heard it used all our lives and usually understood the context around it. But now you know its true meaning, so go forth and use the word as you like!