Several etymologies for this name have been proposed:
- Perhaps the most well-known is where it is said to derive from Mayan, being either tectetan, meaning “I do not understand you" or uyutan, uyukatan, or yukutan, “listen to them talk!".
- Bernal Diaz derived the name from the vegetable yuca + tale a hillock in which it is planted.
- Perhaps more likely is the derivation from Nahuatl yohcÄuh "˜possession, riches' + tlÄn "˜place of'.