yak: Large central Asian bovine animal with long silk hair, domesticated in Tibet. Tibetan “yjag.”
yakisoba: Japanese dish of fried wheat-flour noodles with vegetables and meat in a thick sauce. Japanese “yaki-“=cook + “soba”=flour noodle.
yamstchik: Driver of a post-horse. Russian “yamshchik” < “yam”=posting horse < Persian “yam”=post-horse.
yard: A measure of 3 feet; 0.914 meters. Old English “gyrd”=a straight shoot, tree branch or twig. Possibly related to Latin “hasta”=spear.
yarmulke: A skullcap worn in public by Orthodox Jewish men. Yiddish “yarmolke” < Polish “jarmukla”=cap.
yarn: Long, usually incredible, story. Figurative use from “to spin a yarn” i.e. a long story. From Old English “gearn”=fiber, yarn.
yatra: A pilgrimage or procession. Sanskrit “yatra” < “ya”=to go or undertake an expedition.
yawp: To talk foolishly or loudly. US dialect < “yap”=to bark like a small god < echoic – comes from the sound.
year: Period of time taken for the earth to revolve once around the sun; 365 days. From Old English “gear”=year. Similar to Greek “horos.”
yearn: To have an intense longing or desire for something. Old English “giernan”=to desire earnestly < Germanic “ger-“=long for, eager.
yeast: Fungus that converts sugar to alcohol. Old English “gist” and same root as Sanskrit “yasyati”=to boil, seethe.
yelm: Bundle of straw used for thatching roofs. Old English “haelm”=plant stalk < Old Germanic “*halmoz”=straw.
yelt: A young sow. Middle English “yelte” < Old English “gilte” < Old Germanic “*gultja”=boar or hog.
yelve: A dung- or garden-fork. Middle English “yevel” < Old English “geafel”=fork.
yentz: To cheat or swindle. Yiddish “yentzen”=to copulate.
yeply: Cunningly, shrewdly, wisely, or swiftly. Old English “geap”=wide, spacious, crafty, astute.
yesterday: The day preceding today; the previous day. From Old English “geostran dag” < “geostran”=yester + “dag”=day.
yeti: Mythical ape-like animal living in the Himalayas. Tibetan “yeh-teh”=little manlike animal.
Yggdrasil: The Tree of the World (also called Odin’s Horse) in Norse mythology. From “Yggr”=one of the god Odin’s names + “drasill”=horse.
yichus: Honor, prestige, or status. Yiddish “yichus” < Hebrew “yihus”=pedigree, breeding.
yobbo: Extended form of “yob”=a lout, hooligan, or bad boy.Originated in 1859 as backslang from “boy.”
yoke: (a) Bar fastening two work animal together; (b) to tie together. From Old English “geoht”=pair of animals; verb from “geocian.”
yokel: Uneducated, unsophisticated countryside dweller. Figurative use of English dialect “yokel”=green woodpecker.
yokozuna: Grand champion sumo wrestler. Japanese “yoko”=across + “tsuna”=rope, orignally a sacred straw presented to the champion.
yolk: Yellow center part of an egg. From Old English “geoleca” < “geola”=yellow.
yomer: To complain, murmur, lament, or mourn. Middle English “yomer” < Old English “oemerian”=sorrowful, wretched, or doleful.
yopo: Hallucinogenic snuff used by some S. American peoples. Gaihibo “yopo” < Otamaco “niopo.”
youster: The fetid discharge from a wound; pus. Old English “geolstr”=suppuration, pus.
yugen: A hidden quality of graceful beauty or mystery; profound aestheticism. Japanese “yu”=dark + “gen”=the unfathomable.
yule: Christmas; originally a Pagan midwinter feast from late December to early January. From Old Anglian “giuli”=December toJanuary time.
yulo: A Chin