Yowsa is a slightly archaic, but nevertheless still popular and widely known exclamation of surprise, used in family friendly moments, when saying Wow is simply not enough.
“Yowsa” was coined by one of the prominent members of the first great music idols of the United States, Ben Bernie in his radio series on NBC radio, which ran between the years of 1932 and 1935.
The musician/radio personality used “Yowsa” frequently as an exclamation in moments of great surprise and popularized it with his contemporaries, aiming to be hip, when the Jazz Cigarette hits.
“Yowsa” quickly became a popular exclamation of surprise, rapidly spreading across the states of the US.
By 1940, it had already established enough that it even appeared in books and magazines.
Although it fell back slightly in the late 40’s and the 1950’s, its popularity rose again in the chillier years of the cold war, starting in 1960, going strong until the 1990’s.
“Yowsa” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on February 21st, 2004, with several entries to follow.
Although it may still be encountered today, it is considered to be old fashioned and reminiscent of minced oaths like Geez Louise.