from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various relatively small, streamlined sailing or motor-driven vessels used for pleasure cruises or racing.
  • intransitive verb To sail, cruise, or race in a yacht.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A vessel propelled either by sails or by steam, most often light or comparatively small, but sometimes of large size, used for pleasure-trips or for racing, or as a vessel of state to convey persons of distinction by water.
  • To sail or cruise in a yacht.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To manage a yacht; to voyage in a yacht.
  • noun (Naut.) A light and elegantly furnished vessel, used either for private parties of pleasure, or as a vessel of state to convey distinguished persons from one place to another; a seagoing vessel used only for pleasure trips, racing, etc.
  • noun See the Note under Tonnage, 4.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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 (Wikipedia).
  • noun Any vessel used for private, noncommercial purposes.
  • verb intransitive To sail, voyage, or race in a yacht.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an expensive vessel propelled by sail or power and used for cruising or racing
  • verb travel in a yacht


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably obsolete Norwegian jagt, from Middle Low German jacht, short for jachtschip : jagen, to chase (from Old High German jagōn) + schip, ship.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Ca. 1557; variant of yaught, earlier yeaghe ("light, fast-sailing ship"), from obsolete Dutch jaght(e) ("hunt") (modern jacht), 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 *jagōnan (cf. West Frisian jeie, German jagen, Swedish jaga), from Proto-Indo-European *yegʰo- (compare Irish éad ("jealousy"), Russian ярый (âryj, "furious"), Albanian gjah ("hunt"), Ancient Greek ζητέω (zētéō, "to search, seek"), Sanskrit यवन (yāvana, "barbarian; agressor"), यत्न (yātna, "zeal")).


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  • What a strange little word this is!

    October 29, 2007

  • It is, isn't it, SoG? I was curious so I checked the etymology. It comes from the Dutch jaght or jacht, as in jaghtschip, which literally meant "ship for chasing." Presumably not a pleasure craft as we think of it nowadays. :-)

    October 29, 2007

  • That is cool. I wonder if by "chasing" they could also have meant "racing."

    October 29, 2007

  • Possibly! The etymology mentions it in reference to "light sailing vessels" used especially for royalty, "fast piratical ships," and those used for hunting. Apparently the meaning shifted at some point to refer to racing craft as well.

    October 29, 2007

  • Well, if you're a pirate, you'd naturally want a fast ship. And if you're a king, you'd also want the fastest ship you could get.

    Let me pause here for a refreshing break.

    "Every ship but your four fastest, you mean."

    "Yes, naturally not those four."

    Thank you. This break brought to you by the word page dulcet.

    And the best way to show off a fast ship, if you're a pirate, is to hunt/catch a whole lotta others. But once the golden age of piracy is over, what's left to do? If you still like fast ships, I guess you need to start having yacht races.

    October 29, 2007

  • Are you taking uselessness' madeupical etymology course, chained_bear? ;-)

    October 29, 2007

  • Actually, the word chasing refers to the pursuit of pleasure. Similar to the modern-day pleasure cruise, which is much slower than one might expect from "cruising." Of course the root of such phrases stems from Solomon's book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes, in which he declares that "everything is vanity, a chasing after the wind," inexorably tying the pleasures of the world to the breeze, and by extension, sailboats.

    October 29, 2007

  • I am without words, U.

    October 29, 2007

  • You see? The man's an artist.

    October 29, 2007

  • What, every word of that was true! ;-)

    October 29, 2007

  • ...but what about pirates???

    October 29, 2007

  • What's the point? When not even death can stop true love, why bother? ;-)

    October 29, 2007

  • WOW! Nice riposte and exquisite avoidance of the question! I doff my hat to you, sir.

    Well, I'm not wearing one, but if I were, I'd be doffing, by God.

    October 30, 2007

  • See cavalry (oddly enough) for some entertaining alternate spellings of this word.

    October 30, 2007

  • I really like this word, and like the pronunciation and everything. But it looks like it feels, and kinda sounds, to throw up.

    I don't know why.

    October 30, 2007

  • Really? I think it looks snazzy.

    October 30, 2007

  • Why isn't yacht spelled yaght like bight/Bucht, cough/Keuch, daughter/Tochter, eight/acht, freight/Fracht, haught/hoch, laughter/Lachter, might/Macht, naught/nichts, sought/sucht, weight/Gewicht, etc.?

    December 22, 2009

  • There's a cafe by the marina here called Yotz. Does that help?

    December 22, 2009

  • You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht.

    December 22, 2010