• yacht •
yaht • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A sailboat designed for racing. 2. A luxury boat used privately or officially for pleasure cruising.
Notes: This word has been in English long enough to have bred a small family of derivations. Someone who owns or sails a yacht may be called a yachtsman. Yachter seems to have died or become chronically ill shortly after birth. Things related to yachts or yachting are all yachty.
In Play: Yachts with sails may be used to race for various cups: "Larry Ellis's yacht won the Hick Cup 5 years in a row once he stopped captaining it." Since other yachts are luxury boats, they tend to be pricy: "If you have to ask the price of a yacht, you probably aren't wealthy enough to own one."
Word History: In Middle English, this word was spelled and pronounced yeaghe, and it referred to a light, fast-sailing ship. The word was borrowed from early Modern Dutch jaght or Middle Low German jacht, shortened form of jachtschip "chase ship", so called because they usually belonged to pirates. Jacht "chase" was the noun from jagen "to chase, hunt", that came down to Modern German as Jagd. The word in Proto-Germanic was yago-, inherited from the Proto-Indo-European root yagh- "to hunt; wish for". The PIE word must have died out in all but the Germanic languages. We find evidence of it in the ancient languages, Hittite ekt- "hunting net" and Sanskrit yahu- "restless, mischief-making", but not in their descendants. (Joakim Larsson probably suggested today's nautical Good Word from the fo'c'sle of his Swedish yacht.)
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