Other Word Forms of Yacht
Origin of Yacht
Circa 1557; variant of yaught, earlier yeaghe (“light, fast-sailing ship"), from Dutch jacht ("hunt"), in older spelling jaght(e), short for jaghtschip, jageschip (“light sailing vessel, fast pirate ship"), literally, "pursuit ship", compound of jagen (“to hunt, chase") and schip (“ship") (see ship), from Proto-Germanic *jagōnÄ… (cf. West Frisian jeie, German jagen, Swedish jaga), from Proto-Indo-European *yegÊ°o- (compare Irish éad (“jealousy"), Russian ярый (járyj, “furious"), Albanian gjah (“hunt"), Ancient Greek ζητέω (zÄ“téō, “to search, seek"), Sanskrit यवन (yāvana, “barbarian; agressor"), यत्न (yātna, “zeal")).
In the 16th century the Dutch built light, fast ships to chase the ships of pirates and smugglers from the coast. The ship was introduced to England in 1660 when the Dutch East India Company presented one to King Charles II, who used it as a pleasure boat, after which it was copied by British shipbuilders as a pleasure craft for wealthy gentlemen.
Probably obsolete Norwegian jagt from Middle Low German jacht short for jachtschip jagen to chase (from Old High German jagōn) schip ship
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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