Etymology
Advertisement
yaw (v.)
"to fall away from the line of a course," 1580s (as a noun 1540s), perhaps ultimately from Old Norse jaga, Old Danish jæge "to drive, chase," from Middle Low German jagen (see yacht).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
yawl (n.)
type of ship's boat, 1660s, apparently from Middle Low German jolle or Dutch jol "a Jutland boat" (according to a 1708 source), of uncertain origin. Also borrowed into French (yole), Italian (jolo), Russian (yal).
Related entries & more 
yawn (n.)
"act of yawning," 1690s, from yawn (v.). Meaning "boring thing" is attested from 1889.
Related entries & more 
yawn (v.)

c. 1300, yenen, yonen, from Old English ginian, gionian "open the mouth wide, yawn, gape," from Proto-Germanic *gin- (source also of Old English giwian, giowian, giwan "to request," Old Norse gina "to yawn," Dutch geeuwen, Old High German ginen"to be wide open," German gähnen "to yawn"), from PIE root *ghieh- "to yawn, gape, be wide open." Modern spelling is from 16c. Related: Yawned; yawning.

Related entries & more 
yawner (n.)
1680s, agent noun from yawn (v.). Meaning "boring thing" is 1942, American English colloquial (yawn (n.) in this sense is attested from 1889).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
yawp (v.)
c. 1300, yolpen, probably echoic variant of yelpen (see yelp). Related: Yawped; yawping. The noun, in reference to speech, is recorded from 1835, now used chiefly in conscious echo of Whitman (1855).
Related entries & more 
yaws (n.)
contagious skin disease, 1670s, from Carib yaya, the native name for it.
Related entries & more 
yay 
"this," as in yay big "this big," 1950s, perhaps from yea "yes" in its sense of "even, truly, verily." "a sort of demonstrative adverb used with adjectives of size, height, extent, etc., and often accompanied by a hand gesture indicating size" [DAS].
Related entries & more 
yclept 
Old English gicliopad; from y- + past participle of cleopian, cpipian "to speak, call; summon, invoke; implore" (see clepe).
Related entries & more 
ye (article)
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.
Related entries & more 

Page 4