Circa 1557; variant of yaught, earlier yeaghe (“light, fast-sailing ship”), from Dutch jacht ("hunt"), in older spelling jaght(e), short for jaghtschip, jageschip (“light sailing vessel, fast pirate ship”), literally, "pursuit ship", compound of jagen (“to hunt, chase”) and schip (“ship”) (see ship), from Proto-Germanic *jagōną (compare West Frisian jeie, German jagen, Swedish jaga), from Proto-Indo-European *yegʰo- (compare Irish éad (“jealousy”), Russian ярый (járyj, “furious”), Albanian gjah (“hunt”), Ancient Greek ζητέω (zētéō, “to search, seek”), Sanskrit यवन (yāvana, “barbarian; agressor”), यत्न (yātna, “zeal”)).
In the 16th century the Dutch built light, fast ships to chase the ships of pirates and smugglers from the coast. The ship was introduced to England in 1660 when the Dutch East India Company presented one to King Charles II, who used it as a pleasure boat, after which it was copied by British shipbuilders as a pleasure craft for wealthy gentlemen.
yacht (plural yachts)
- A slick and light ship for making pleasure trips or racing on water, having sails but often motor-powered. At times used as a residence offshore on a dock.
- Would you like to go sailing on my uncle’s yacht?
- You are a true yachtsman! Are you a member of the local yacht club?
1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 10, The Celebrity:
- The skipper Mr. Cooke had hired at Far Harbor was a God-fearing man with a luke warm interest in his new billet and employer, and had only been prevailed upon to take charge of the yacht after the offer of an emolument equal to half a year's sea pay of an ensign in the navy.
- Any vessel used for private, noncommercial purposes.
1907, Robert Chambers, chapter 6, The Younger Set:
- “I don’t mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera, […] the chlorotic squatters on huge yachts, […] the neurotic victims of mental cirrhosis, [… ]!”
- ice yacht
- land yacht
- motor yacht, motoryacht, MY
- sailing yacht, steam yacht, SY
- yacht club
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yacht m (plural yachts)
- "yacht" in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
yacht m (invariable)