Dictionary: Y – YAW

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the twenty-fifth letter of the English Alphabet, is taken from the Greek υ. At the beginning of words, it is called an articulation or consonant, and with some propriety perhaps, as it brings the root of the tongue in close contact with the lower part of the palate, and nearly in the position to which the close g brings it. Hence it has happened that in a great number of words, g has been changed into y, as the Sax. gear, into year; geornian, into yearn; gyllan, into yell; gealew, into yellow. In the middle and at the end of words, y is precisely the same as i. It is sounded as i long, when accented, as in defy, rely; and as i short, when unaccented, as in vanity, glory, synonymous. This latter sound is a vowel. At the beginning of words, y answers to the German and Dutch j. Y, as a numeral, stands for 150, and with a dash over it, Ȳ, for 150,000.

YACHT, n. [yot; D. jagt; G. jacht, from jagen. It is properly a boat drawn by horses.]

A vessel of state used to convey princes, embassadors, and other great personages from one place to another. The royal yachts are rigged as ketches, except the principal one, which is equipped as a ship. The smaller yachts are rigged as sloops. – Mar. Dict.

YA-GER, n. [yaw'ger; G. jäger, from jagen, to chase.]

A horseman.

YA'HOO, n.

A word said to have been coined by Dean Swift. Chesterfield uses it for a savage, or one resembling a savage.

YAK, n.

A ruminant mammal of the bovine tribe, the Bos Poephagus, or Bison Poephagus; a species of ox, with cylindric horns curving outward, long pendent hair, and villous, horse-like tail; the grunting ox of Pennant. This ox is found in Thibet. – Cyc.

YAM, n.

A large esculent root growing in tropical climates, Dioscorea sativa, and various other species.


A kind of plant producing fruit like a plum.


A corrupt pronunciation of the word English, by the native Indians of America; or more probably of the French word Anglois. – Heckewelder.


A mineral, called also axinite or thumerstone, whose crystals resemble an ax. – Ure.


to bark, is not a legitimate word.

YAP'ON, n.

The cassine or South Sea tea. The Ilex Cassine or youpon, is a shrub growing in the S. States, used as a tea and a medicine. – Mease.

YARD, n. [Sax. geard, gerd, gyrd, a rod, that is, a shoot.]

  1. A measure of three feet or thirty-six inches. It is just seven-ninths of the Paris ell.
  2. [Sax. gyrdan, to inclose; Dan. gierde, a hedge, an inclosure; gierder, to hedge in, Sw. gärda.] An inclosure; usually, a small inclosed place in front of or around a house or barn. The yard in front of a house is called a court, and sometimes a court-yard. In the United States, a small yard is fenced round a barn for confining cattle, and called barn-yard or cow-yard.
  3. In ships, a long, slender piece of timber, nearly cylindrical, suspended upon the mast, by which a sail is extended. Yard of land, in old books, a certain quantity of land, but different in different counties. In some counties it was 15 acres, in others 20 or 24, and even 40. Dock-yard, a place where ships are laid up. Prison-yard, primarily, an inclosure about a prison, or attached to it. Hence liberty of the yard, is a liberty granted to persons imprisoned for debt, of walking in the yard, or within any other limits prescribed by law, on his giving bond not to go beyond those limits. – United States.

YARD, v.t.

To confine cattle to the yard; as, to yard cows. [A farmer's word.]

YARD-ARM, n. [yard and arm.]

Either half of a ship's yard, from the center or mast to the end.


A quantity of land, in England, different in different counties, fifteen, twenty, or thirty acres.

YARD-STICK, n. [yard and stick.]

A stick three feet in length, used as a measure of cloth, &c.

YARD-WAND, n. [yard and wand.]

A measure of a yard; now yard-stick.

YARE, a. [Sax. gearw, prepared; from the root of gear. See Eager.]

Ready; dextrous; eager. [Obs.] – Shak.

YARE-LY, adv.

Readily; dextrously; skillfully. [Obs.] – Shak.

YARN, n. [Sax. gearn; G. Ice. and Sw. garn; D. garen.]

  1. Spun wool; woolen thread; but it is applied also to other species of thread, as to cotton and linen.
  2. In rope-making, one of the threads of which a rope is composed. It is spun from hemp.

YARR, v.i. [Low L. hirrio; Celtic, gar, W. garw, rough.]

To growl or snarl, as a dog. [Not in use.] – Ainsworth.


Having a rough dry taste. [Local.]

YAR'ROW, n. [Sax. gearwe; Sp. yaro.]

A plant of the genus Achillea; the milfoil, or plant of thousand leaves.

YATE, n.

In the north of England, is used for gate.

YAW, n.

The African name of a raspberry. – Cyc.