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exclamation of alarm or surprise, by 1953; perhaps from yoicks, a call in fox-hunting, attested from c.1770. Yike "a fight" is slang attested from 1940, of uncertain connection.
An exclamation of alarm or surprise: ''There are people next door,'' she said. ''Yikes,'' Hawk said (first form 1940s+, variant 1971+)
An exclamation of dismay, alarm, emphatic response, etc: Yipes, it's a rattlesnake! Yipe, that hurt!
[esp teenagers; probably fr the spontaneous interjection yi, a cry of pain or dismay, with the p or k stop intruding after lip closure, as it does in nope and yep]