Originally Posted by Chilipapa
YOLO is an acronym for "You Only Live Once". The word was popularized by rappers Drake and Rick Ross, who planned to name a joint mixtape YOLO. To promote this mixtape, "Yolo" was mentioned prominently on several of their tracks such as "The Motto", with the aim of promoting the tape. This use has elevated the word into prominence and common colloquial use. Hip-hop magazine Da South reported that the rapper Lecrae has deconstructed YOLO in his song "No Regrets".
The phrase can be seen in youth culture, for example a high school prank in Chicago, Illinois, involved high school students chanting "YOLO". Some people have grafittied YOLO on walls. It has become a popular Twitter hashtag. Some youth have said that it is their motto, and actor Zac Efron has a tattoo with the acronym.
Online media including the Washington Post and the Huffington Post describe YOLO as the "newest acronym you'll love to hate" and "dumb".
The phrase "you only live once" is commonly attributed to Mae West, but variations of the phrase have been in use for over 100 years, including as far back as (the German equivalent of) "one lives but once in the world" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his 1774 play Clavigo and as the title of a waltz, "Man lebt nur einmal!" ("You Only Live Once!") by Johann Strauss II in 1855.