Yiff is part of a range of onomatopoeic words that form a pseudo-language used by the furry role-playing community: yiff, yip, yerf, yaff, yarf, growf and growlf (in order from most positive connotations to most negative connotations). Yiff meant yes or an exuberant hello!. Later, yiff was assigned a meaning of a sexual proposition, a meaning that had previously been assigned to yipp (a coarse form of yip).
Other claimed etymologies include:
- onomatopoeic word for the sound of a fox mating. This etymology is unsubstantiated and appears to be apocryphal.
- sense 3 of YIFF. This is apparently a backronym.
- (onomatopoeia) Representing a bark (of a fox.)
- (furry jargon, interrogative) “Anyone willing/desiring to have sex?”
- (furry jargon, interrogative) “Are you willing/desiring to have sex?”