university in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S., founded 1701 as Collegiate School, renamed 1718 in honor of a gift from British merchant-philanthropist Elihu Yale (1649-1721). As a kind of lock, 1854, invented by U.S. mechanic Linus Yale Jr. (1821-1868). The surname is Welsh, from ial, and means "dweller at the fertile upland." Related: Yalie.