yakuza (n.)Related entries & more
traditional Japanese organized crime cartel, literally "eight-nine-three" (ya, ku, sa) the losing hand in the traditional baccarat-like Japanese card game Oicho-Kabu. The notion may be "good for nothing," or "bad luck" (such as that suffered by someone who runs afoul of them), or it may be a reference to the fact that a player who draws this hand requires great skill to win.
y'all (pron.)Related entries & more
Children learn from the slaves some odd phrases ... as ... will you all do this? for, will one of you do this? ["Arthur Singleton" (Henry C. Knight), "Letters from the South and West," 1824]
We-all for "us" is attested by 1865; we-uns by 1864. Who-all attested from 1899.
yam (n.)Related entries & more
1580s, igname (current form by 1690s), from Portuguese inhame or Spanish igname, from a West African language (compare Fulani nyami "to eat;" Twi anyinam "species of yam"); the word in American and Jamaican English probably is directly from West African sources. The Malay name is ubi, whence German öbiswurzel.
yammer (v.)Related entries & more
late 15c., "to lament," probably from Middle Dutch jammeren and cognate Middle English yeoumeren, "to mourn, complain," from Old English geomrian "to lament," from geomor "sorrowful," probably of imitative origin. Cognate with Old Saxon jamar "sad, sorrowful," German Jammer "lamentation, misery." Meaning "to make loud, annoying noise" is attested from 1510s. Related: Yammered; yammering.
yang (n.)Related entries & more
masculine or positive principle in Chinese philosophy, 1670s, from Mandarin yang, said to mean "male, daylight, solar," or "sun, positive, male genitals."
yank (v.)Related entries & more
"to pull, jerk," 1822, Scottish, of unknown origin. Related: Yanked; yanking. The noun is 1818 in sense of "sudden blow, cuff;" 1856 (American English) as "a sudden pull."
yap (v.)Related entries & more
1660s, "bark as a (small) dog," earlier as a noun, "yapping dog" (c. 1600), probably of imitative origin. Compare verb yamph in same sense (1718). Originally in reference to dog sounds; meaning "to talk idle chatter" is first recorded 1886. Related: Yapped; yapping. As a noun, 1826 in reference to the sound; 1900, American English slang as "mouth."