yclept Look up yclept at Dictionary.com
Old English gicliopad; from y- + past participle of cleopian, cpipian "to speak, call; summon, invoke; implore" (see clepe).
ye (pron.) Look up ye at Dictionary.com
Old English ge, nominative plural of 2nd person pronoun þu (see thou); cognate with Old Frisian ji, Old Saxon gi, Middle Dutch ghi, Dutch gij. Cognate with Lithuanian jus, Sanskrit yuyam, Avestan yuzem, Greek hymeis.

Altered, by influence of we, from an earlier form that was similar to Gothic jus "you (plural)" (see you). The -r- in Old Norse er, German ihr probably is likewise from influence of their respective 1st person plural pronouns (Old Norse ver, German wir).
ye (article) Look up ye at Dictionary.com
old or quaintly archaic way of writing the, in which the -y- is a 16c. graphic alteration of þ, an Old English character (generally called "thorn," originally a Germanic rune; see th-) that represented the -th- sound (as at the beginning of thorn). The characters for -y- and -þ- so closely resembled each other in Old English and early Middle English handwriting that a dot had to be added to the -y- to keep them distinct. In late 15c., early printers in English, whose types were founded on the continent, did not have a þ in their sets, so they substituted y as the letter that looked most like it when setting type. But in such usages it was not meant to be pronounced with any of the sounds associated with -y-, but still as "-th-." Ye for the (and yt for that) continued in manuscripts through 18c. Revived 19c. as a deliberate antiquarianism; the Ye Olde _____ construction was being mocked by 1896.
yea (adv.) Look up yea at Dictionary.com
Old English gea (West Saxon), ge (Anglian) "so, yes," from Proto-Germanic *ja-, *jai-, a word of affirmation (cognates: German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish ja), from PIE *yam-, from pronomial stem *i- (see yon). As a noun, "affirmation, affirmative vote," from early 13c.
yeah Look up yeah at Dictionary.com
American English, colloquial, by 1863, from drawling pronunciation of yes.
yean (v.) Look up yean at Dictionary.com
Old English eanian "to bring forth" (young), especially in reference to sheep or goats, from Proto-Germanic *aunon (cognate with Dutch oonen), from PIE *agwh-no- "lamb" (cognates: Greek amnos "lamb," Latin agnus, Old Church Slavonic agne, Old Irish van, Welsh oen). Yeanling "young lamb, kid" is recorded from 1630s.
yeanling (n.) Look up yeanling at Dictionary.com
"lamb, kid," 1630s, from yean + -ling.
year (n.) Look up year at Dictionary.com
Old English gear (West Saxon), ger (Anglian) "year," from Proto-Germanic *jeram "year" (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German jar, Old Norse ar, Danish aar, Old Frisian ger, Dutch jaar, German Jahr, Gothic jer "year"), from PIE *yer-o-, from root *yer- "year, season" (cognates: Avestan yare (nominative singular) "year;" Greek hora "year, season, any part of a year," also "any part of a day, hour;" Old Church Slavonic jaru, Bohemian jaro "spring;" Latin hornus "of this year;" Old Persian dušiyaram "famine," literally "bad year"). Probably originally "that which makes [a complete cycle]," and from verbal root *ei- meaning "to do, make."
year-long (adj.) Look up year-long at Dictionary.com
also yearlong, 1813, from year + -long.
year-round (adj.) Look up year-round at Dictionary.com
1917, from (all) the year round; see year (n.) + round (adj.). As an adverb from 1948.
yearbook (n.) Look up yearbook at Dictionary.com
also year-book, 1580s, "book of reports of cases in law-courts for that year," from year + book (n.). Meaning "book of events and statistics of the previous year" is recorded from 1710. Sense of "graduating class album" is attested from 1926, American English.
yearling (n.) Look up yearling at Dictionary.com
"animal a year old or in its second year," mid-15c., from year + -ling. Year-old (n.) in this sense is from 1530s.
yearly (adj.) Look up yearly at Dictionary.com
Old English gearlic "yearly, of the year, annual;" see year + -ly (1).
yearn (v.) Look up yearn at Dictionary.com
Old English giernan (West Saxon), geornan (Mercian), giorna (Northumbrian) "to strive, be eager, desire, seek for, beg, demand," from Proto-Germanic *gernjan (cognates: Gothic gairnjan "to desire," German begehren "to desire;" Old High German gern, Old Norse gjarn "desirous," Old English georn "eager, desirous," German gern "gladly, willingly"), from PIE root *gher- (5) "to like, want" (see hortatory). Related: Yearned; yearning.
yearning (n.) Look up yearning at Dictionary.com
Old English gierning, verbal noun from yearn (v.). Related: Yearningly.
yeast (n.) Look up yeast at Dictionary.com
Old English gist "yeast, froth," from Proto-Germanic *jest- (cognates: Old Norse jastr, Swedish jäst, Middle High German gest, German Gischt "foam, froth," Old High German jesan, German gären "to ferment"), from PIE root *yes- "to boil, foam, froth" (cognates: Sanskrit yasyati "boils, seethes," Greek zein "to boil," Welsh ias "seething, foaming").
yeasty (adj.) Look up yeasty at Dictionary.com
1590s, from yeast + -y (2).
yegg (n.) Look up yegg at Dictionary.com
also yegg-man, 1901, a word popular in the first decade of the 20th century and meaning vaguely "hobo burglar; safe-breaker; criminal beggar."
The great majority [of the Chicago criminal population] are what certain detectives call "Yegg-men," which is a term, by the way, that the detectives would do well to define. As far as I can discover it means tramp-thieves, but the average tramp seldom uses the word. Hoboes that break safes in country post-offices come under the Yegg-men classification." [McClure's Magazine, Feb. 1901]
Popularized by the Pinkerton agency detectives. The 1900 "Proceedings of the 26th annual convention of the American Bankers' Association," whose members were protected by the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, reported a letter dated Nov. 23 or 24, 1899, returning $540, taken earlier that year, to the Scandinavian-American Bank of St. Paul, Minn., noting that the thieves had been so hounded by detectives that they gave up the gains and advised the bank to advertise that it was a member of the American Bankers Association, because "the American Bankers Association is too tough for poor 'grafters.'" The letter supposedly was signed "John Yegg," but this was said to be a pseudonym and the report identified the man arrested later in the case as William Barrett.
yell (v.) Look up yell at Dictionary.com
Old English giellan (West Saxon), gellan (Mercian) "to yell, sound, shout," class III strong verb (past tense geal, past participle gollen), from Proto-Germanic *gel- (cognates: Old Norse gjalla "to resound," Middle Dutch ghellen, Dutch gillen, Old High German gellan, German gellen "to yell"), extended form of root of Old English galan "to sing" (source of the -gale in nightingale); from PIE *ghel- (1) "to call, cry out, shout, sing" (cognates: Greek kikhle "thrush," khelidon "the swallow"). Intransitive sense from early 13c. Related: Yelled; yelling.
yell (n.) Look up yell at Dictionary.com
late 14c., originally in Scottish, from yell (v.).
yelling (n.) Look up yelling at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., verbal noun from yell (v.).
yellow (adj.) Look up yellow at Dictionary.com
Old English geolu, geolwe, "yellow," from Proto-Germanic *gelwaz (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German gelo, Middle Dutch ghele, Dutch geel, Middle High German gel, German gelb, Old Norse gulr, Swedish gul "yellow"), from PIE *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold (see glass).

Occasionally in Middle English used of a color closer to blue-gray or gray, of frogs or hazel eyes, and to translate Latin caeruleus, glauco. Also as a noun in Old English. Meaning "light-skinned" (of blacks) first recorded 1808. Applied to Asiatics since 1787, though the first recorded reference is to Turkish words for inhabitants of India. Yellow peril translates German die gelbe gefahr. Sense of "cowardly" is 1856, of unknown origin; the color was traditionally associated rather with jealousy and envy (17c.). Yellow-bellied "cowardly" is from 1924, probably a semi-rhyming reduplication of yellow; earlier yellow-belly was a sailor's name for a half-caste (1867) and a Texas term for Mexican soldiers (1842, based on the color of their uniforms). Yellow dog "mongrel" is attested from c.1770; slang sense of "contemptible person" first recorded 1881. Yellow fever attested from 1748, American English (jaundice is a symptom).
yellow (v.) Look up yellow at Dictionary.com
Old English geoluwian "to become yellow," from the source of yellow (adj.). Transitive sense from 1590s. Related: Yellowed; yellowing.
yellow journalism Look up yellow journalism at Dictionary.com
"sensational chauvinism in the media," 1898, American English, from newspaper agitation for war with Spain; originally "publicity stunt use of colored ink" (1895) in reference to the popular Yellow Kid" character (his clothes were yellow) in Richard Outcault's comic strip "Shantytown" in the "New York World."
yellow ribbon Look up yellow ribbon at Dictionary.com
The American folk custom of wearing or displaying a yellow ribbon to signify solidarity with loved ones or fellow citizens at war originated during the U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Iran in 1979. It does not have a connection to the American Civil War, beyond the use of the old British folk song "Round Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" in the John Wayne movie of the same name, with a Civil War setting, released in 1949. The story of a ribbon tied to a tree as a signal to a convict returning home that his loved ones have forgiven him is attested from 1959, but the ribbon in that case was white.

The ribbon color seems to have changed to yellow first in a version retold by newspaper columnist Pete Hamill in 1971. The story was dramatized in June 1972 on ABC-TV (James Earl Jones played the ex-con). Later that year, Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown copyrighted the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," which became a pop hit in early 1973 and sparked a lawsuit by Hamill, later dropped.

In 1975, the wife of a Watergate conspirator put out yellow ribbons when her husband was released from jail, and news coverage of that was noted and remembered by Penne Laingen, whose husband was U.S. ambassador to Iran in 1979 and one of the Iran hostages taken in the embassy on Nov. 4. Her yellow ribbon in his honor was written up in the Dec. 10, 1979, "Washington Post." When the hostage families organized as the Family Liaison Action Group (FLAG), they took the yellow ribbon as their symbol. The ribbons revived in the 1991 Gulf War and again during the 2000s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
yellowcake (n.) Look up yellowcake at Dictionary.com
oxide of uranium, 1950, from yellow (adj.) + cake (n.).
yellowtail (n.) Look up yellowtail at Dictionary.com
type of fish, 1709, from yellow (adj.) + tail (n.).
yellowy (adj.) Look up yellowy at Dictionary.com
1660s, from yellow (n.) + -y (2).
yelp (v.) Look up yelp at Dictionary.com
Old English gielpan (West Saxon), gelpan (Anglian) "to boast, exult," from Proto-Germanic *gel- (cognates: Old Saxon galpon, Old Norse gjalpa "to yelp," Old Norse gjalp "boasting," Old High German gelph "outcry"), from PIE root *ghel- (1) "to cry out" (see yell (v.)). Meaning "utter a quick, sharp, bark or cry" is 1550s, probably from the noun. Related: Yelped; yelping.
yelp (n.) Look up yelp at Dictionary.com
Old English gielp "boasting, pride, arrogance," from source of yelp (v.). Meaning "quick, sharp bark or cry" is attested from early 16c.
Yemen Look up Yemen at Dictionary.com
southwestern region of Arabia, from Arabic Yemen, literally "the country of the south," from yaman "right side" (i.e., south side, if one is facing east). The right side regarded as auspicious, hence Arabic yamana "he was happy," literally "he went to the right," and hence the Latin name for the region in Roman times, Arabia Felix, lit, "Happy Arabia." Related: Yemeni.
yen (n.1) Look up yen at Dictionary.com
Japanese monetary unit, 1875, from Japanese yen, from Chinese yuan "round, round object, circle, dollar."
yen (n.2) Look up yen at Dictionary.com
"sharp desire, hunger," 1906, earlier yen-yen (1900), yin (1876) "intense craving for opium," from Chinese (Cantonese) yan "craving," or from a Beijing dialect word for "smoke." Reinforced in English by influence of yearn.
yenta (n.) Look up yenta at Dictionary.com
"gossip, busybody," 1923, from Yente Telebende, comic strip gossip in 1920s-30s writing of Yiddish newspaper humorist B. Kovner (pen-name of Jacob Adler) in the "Jewish Daily Forward." It was a common Yiddish fem. proper name, altered from Yentl and said to be ultimately from Italian gentile "kind, gentle," earlier "noble, high-born" (see gentle).
yeoman (n.) Look up yeoman at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "attendant in a noble household," of unknown origin, perhaps a contraction of Old English iunge man "young man," or from an unrecorded Old English *geaman, equivalent of Old Frisian gaman "villager," from Old English -gea "district, region, village," cognate with Old Frisian ga, ge, German Gau, Gothic gawi, from Proto-Germanic *gaujan.

Sense of "commoner who cultivates his land" is recorded from early 15c.; also the third order of fighting men (late 14c., below knights and squires, above knaves), hence yeomen's service "good, efficient service" (c.1600). Meaning "naval petty officer in charge of supplies" is first attested 1660s. Yeowoman first recorded 1852: "Then I am yeo-woman O the clumsy word!" [Tennyson, "The Foresters"]
yeomanry (n.) Look up yeomanry at Dictionary.com
"yeomen collectively," late 14c., from yeoman + -ry.
yep Look up yep at Dictionary.com
by 1889, American English, variant of yes, altered for emphasis, or possibly influenced by nope.
yer Look up yer at Dictionary.com
representing a dialectal or vulgar pronunciation of your, attested from 1814.
yes (adv.) Look up yes at Dictionary.com
Old English gise, gese "so be it!," probably from gea, ge "so" (see yea) + si "be it!," third person imperative of beon "to be" (see be). Originally stronger than simple yea. Used in Shakespeare mainly as an answer to negative questions. As a noun from 1712. Yes-man is first recorded 1912, American English.
yeshiva (n.) Look up yeshiva at Dictionary.com
"Orthodox Jewish college or seminary," 1851, from Hebrew yesibah "academy," literally "a sitting," from yashav "to sit."
yessir Look up yessir at Dictionary.com
1836, representing a quick reply of yes, sir (in 19c. writing typically of restaurant waiters taking orders). Extended form yessiree attested from 1846.
yester- Look up yester- at Dictionary.com
Old English geostran "yesterday," from Proto-Germanic *gester- (cognates: Old High German gestaron, German gestern "yesterday," Old Norse gær "tomorrow, yesterday," Gothic gistradagis "tomorrow"), originally "the other day" (reckoned from "today," either backward or forward), from PIE root *dhgh(y)es- "yesterday" (cognates: Sanskrit hyah, Avestan zyo, Persian di, Greek khthes, Latin heri, Old Irish indhe, Welsh doe "yesterday;" Latin hesternus "of yesterday").
yesterday (n., adv.) Look up yesterday at Dictionary.com
Old English geostran dæg; see yester- + day.
yesternight (n., adv.) Look up yesternight at Dictionary.com
Old English gystran niht; see yester- + night.
yesteryear (n.) Look up yesteryear at Dictionary.com
coined 1870 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti from yester- + year to translate French antan (from Vulgar Latin *anteannum "the year before") in a refrain by François Villon: Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan? which Rossetti rendered "But where are the snows of yesteryear?"
yet (adv.) Look up yet at Dictionary.com
Old English get, gieta "till now, thus far, earlier, at last, also," an Anglo-Frisian word (cognates: Old Frisian ieta, Middle High German ieuzo), of unknown origin; perhaps connected to PIE pronomial stem *i- (see yon). The meaning in other Germanic languages is expressed by descendants of Proto-Germanic *noh- (source of German noch), from PIE *nu-qe- "and now." As a conjunction from c.1200.
yeti (n.) Look up yeti at Dictionary.com
1937, from Sherpa (Tibetan) yeh-teh "small manlike animal." Compare abominable snowman.
yew (n.) Look up yew at Dictionary.com
evergreen tree of temperate Europe and Asia, Old English iw, eow "yew," from Proto-Germanic *iwo- (cognates: Middle Dutch iwe, Dutch ijf, Old High German iwa, German Eibe, Old Norse yr), from PIE *ei-wo- (cognates: Old Irish eo, Welsh ywen "yew"), perhaps a suffixed form of root *ei- (2) "reddish, motley, yellow."

OED says French if, Spanish iva, Medieval Latin ivus are from Germanic (and says Dutch ijf is from French); others posit a Gaulish ivos as the source of these. Lithuanian jeva likewise is said to be from Germanic. The tree symbolizes both death and immortality, being poisonous as well as long-lived. Reference to its wood as well-suited to making bows dates from c.1400.
Yggdrasil Look up Yggdrasil at Dictionary.com
great tree of the universe, 1770, from Old Norse ygdrasill, apparently from Yggr, a name of Odin + drasill "horse."
Yid (n.) Look up Yid at Dictionary.com
generally derogatory term for a Jew, 1874 (Hotten, apparently originally British English), from Yiddish use, where it was complimentary (see Yiddish).