Etymology
Advertisement
yammer (v.)
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.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
yang (n.)
masculine or positive principle in Chinese philosophy, 1670s, from Mandarin yang, said to mean "male, daylight, solar," or "sun, positive, male genitals."
Related entries & more 
yank (v.)
"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."
Related entries & more 
Yank (n.)
abbreviated form of Yankee, 1778.
Related entries & more 
Yankee (n.)

1683, a name applied disparagingly by Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) to English colonists in neighboring Connecticut. It may be from Dutch Janke, literally "Little John," diminutive of common personal name Jan; or it may be from Jan Kes familiar form of "John Cornelius," or perhaps an alteration of Jan Kees, dialectal variant of Jan Kaas, literally "John Cheese," the generic nickname the Flemings used for Dutchmen.

[I]t is to be noted that it is common to name a droll fellow, regarded as typical of his country, after some favorite article of food, as E[nglish] Jack-pudding, G[erman] Hanswurst ("Jack Sausage"), F[rench] Jean Farine ("Jack Flour"). [Century Dictionary, 1902, entry for "macaroni"]

Originally it seems to have been applied insultingly to the Dutch, especially freebooters, before they turned around and slapped it on the English. A less-likely theory (attested by 1832) is that it represents some southern New England Algonquian language mangling of English. In English a term of contempt (1750s) before its use as a general term for "native of New England" (1765); during the American Revolution it became a disparaging British word for all American natives or inhabitants. Contrasted with southerner by 1828. Shortened form Yank in reference to "an American" first recorded 1778. Latin-American form Yanqui attested in English by 1914 (in Mexican Spanish by 1835).

The rule observed in this country is, that the man who receives that name [Yankee] must come from some part north of him who gives it. To compensate us for giving each other nicknames, John Bull "lumps us all together," and calls us all Yankees. ["Who is a Yankee?" Massachusetts Spy, June 6, 1827]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Yankee Doodle (n.)
popular tune of the American Revolution, apparently written c. 1755 by British Army surgeon Dr. Richard Schuckburgh while campaigning with Amherst's force in upper New York during the French and Indian War. The original verses mocked the colonial troops (see Yankee) serving alongside the regulars, and the Doodle element might have been, or hinted at, the 18c. slang term for "penis." The song naturally was popular with British troops in the colonies during the Revolutionary War, but after the colonials began to win skirmishes with them in 1775, they took the tune as a patriotic prize and re-worked the lyrics. The current version seems to have been written in 1776 by Edward Bangs, a Harvard sophomore who also was a Minuteman.
Related entries & more 
yap (v.)
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."
Related entries & more 
yar 
growling sound, imitative, attested from c. 1300.
Related entries & more 
Yarborough (n.)
in bridge/whist, a hand with no card above a nine, 1874, said to be so called for an unnamed Earl of Yarborough who bet 1,000 to 1 against its occurrence.
Related entries & more 

Page 3