yacht origin meaning

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The Yacht – The Meaning and the Origin of the Word

In my language there are a few words for a floating object, or a vessel. According to the size and the purpose of the vessel, those words could be translated as “dinghy”, “yacht”, “boat” or “ship”. Some types of vessels have international names, for example “catamaran” or “hovercraft”.

What Does Yacht Mean?

However, when you say “ yacht” in my language, everyone know exactly what it is about. The word “yacht”, unlike other terms, has certain connotations. It always links with something classy, fancy, wealthy, elegant, and even glamorous.

For example, if you say that you have spent a week aboard a sailing boat , the recations of people will be more or less neutral. On the other hand, if you say that your week aboard a yacht was excellent, many people will become jealous. They will imagine you in a scene from a James Bond movie : aboard a massive white yacht in Monte Carlo , having a cold martini (shaken, not stirred)…

I wanted to share with you this language introduction because I found an interesting story about the word “yacht” and its origin. The word “yacht” became an English and an international term after an event that happened a long time ago.

How Do You Spell ‘Yacht’?


This word comes from the Dutch word “jacht”, which means “hunt”. Furthermore, “ j achtschepen” was the name for narrow, light and very fast sailing boats that the Dutchmen were using for intercepting larger and slower boats and ships.

One of the ‘hunters’ was given as a present to the British king Charles II . In His Majesty’s free time this vessel was not used for intercepting. Instead, was using it for fun. That is why the word “yacht” eventually became the term for vessels/boats made for pleasure.

I would highly appreciate comments from the native speakers of the  English and Dutch languages. Especially since I am not one of them. No matter whether this story is true or not, it still sounds interesting to me.

Find out more about sailing quotes and phrases here .

I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!

8 thoughts on “The Yacht – The Meaning and the Origin of the Word”

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I looked up the origin of the word yacht, and it said it is a mid 16th century, Early Modern Dutch word from ‘jaght,’ from ‘jaghtschip’ meaning “fast pirate ship,” from ‘jaght’ which means “hunting” + ‘schip’ meaning “ship”.

I like the story of King Charles. It makes sense that that is why a yacht has the definite aura of wealth and pleasure!

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Almost but not 100%. Actually the verb ‘jagen’ to hunt goes back to middle high German,i.e. Deutsch not Dutch, and before that it was ‘jagon’ in lower high German. But it seems that it all started with Greek and travelled North.

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I guess that mid 16th century, the Dutch word jaght or jaghtschip was the word that got picked up. Not the earlier middle high German word where it came from.

Today it is jacht in Dutch, meaning hunting and it also the word for a luxury sailing boat.

In German Jagd is the word for hunt. Germans use the Dutch or English Jacht or Yacht for the boat.

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Did the Germans design the original schooners? I think not! Since some Netherlanders speak a form of the Deutschland language, this word is shared (jacht/Dutch—jagd/German: meaning to hunt). It was the Dutch (Netherlanders) who designed the “flyut” or flute sailing ships, l-o-n-g before any British ever thought of such a ship—and—any German. The schooner grew out of the basic designs of the Dutch flute sailing ship (known for it’s speed). The Dutch economy relied heavily on trade and shipping, and were, thus, cutting edge innovators in ship building. Their engineering skills, was and is, plainly seen in their dike system, as well.

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My father built a beautiful wooden replica of the”yacht” referred by the author (“Yacht Mary”) which was a present from the city of Amsterdam to King Charles II of England in 1660. They wrecked the ship a few years later (already too much partying on yachts, perhaps?)

I noticed the plaque that came with the model ship spelled the name as “Yatch” Mary. First, I thought, maybe, it was old English or Dutch spelling but it looks like it was just an error.

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Nice, We have made an eplainermovie about this subject!


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In my head yogurt used to be spelled yoghurt and yacht used to be spelled yaught. Am I completely mis-remembering?

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Dear Margaret, you are quite right for the spelling of the word yogurt that used to be, and sometimes still is, spelled with its old spelling yoghurt. However, there are no traces of the word yacht to have ever been spelled as yaught, but it would be best to take an etymology expert’s word for it.

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1550s, yeaghe "a light, fast-sailing ship," from Norwegian jaght or early Dutch jaght , both from Middle Low German jacht , shortened form of jachtschip "fast pirate ship," literally "ship for chasing," from jacht "chase," from jagen "to chase, hunt," from Old High German jagon , from Proto-Germanic *yago- , from PIE root *yek- (2) "to hunt" (source also of Hittite ekt- "hunting net"). Related: Yachting ; yachtsman .

Entries linking to yacht

Old English huntian "chase game" (transitive and intransitive), perhaps developed from hunta "hunter," and related to hentan "to seize," from Proto-Germanic *huntojan (source also of Gothic hinþan "to seize, capture," Old High German hunda "booty"), which is of uncertain origin.

Not the usual Germanic word for this, which is represented by Dutch jagen , German jagen (see yacht (n.)). General sense of "search diligently" (for anything) is recorded from c. 1200. Related: Hunted ; hunting . To hunt (something) up "search for until found" is from 1791. Parlor game hunt the slipper is attested from 1766.

also jaeger , "German sharpshooter," 1776, from German Jäger , literally "huntsman," from jagen "to hunt," from Old High German jagon , related to Old Frisian jagia , Dutch jagen "to hunt," Old Norse jaga "to drive, to move to and fro" (see yacht (n.)). Applied to riflemen and sharpshooters in the German and Austrian armies. Englished as yager , yaeger from 1804.

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yacht origin meaning

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Yacht Word Origin

White Yacht

The word “yacht” conjures images of sleek, luxurious vessels gracefully sailing the open waters. But have you ever wondered about the origin of this nautical term? In this article, we delve into the intriguing history and etymology of the word “yacht,” tracing its roots from the Dutch language to its modern-day association with opulent recreational boating.

A Dutch Connection: The Early Origins

The word “yacht” finds its origin in the Dutch word “jacht” or “jaght,” meaning “hunt” or “chase.” In the 17th century, these vessels were primarily used by the Dutch navy for pursuing pirates and engaging in coastal defense. Originally, a yacht was a fast and nimble sailing ship with a focus on performance rather than luxury.

Evolution into Leisure Craft

Over time, yachts transitioned from their naval purpose to become vessels of leisure and pleasure. As the wealthy elite began to embrace sailing as a recreational activity, yachts became synonymous with luxurious and stylish cruising experiences. The word “yacht” gradually shifted to represent high-end vessels designed for private enjoyment rather than military pursuits.

The word “yacht” traces its origins to the Dutch language, where it originally referred to ships used for hunting and defense. With the evolution of leisure sailing, yachts transformed into symbols of luxury and indulgence, capturing the essence of elegant and extravagant sea travel. Today, these magnificent vessels continue to fascinate as they grace the world’s waters, combining a rich history with the epitome of maritime leisure.

yacht origin meaning

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In this article, we explain the definition, history and origin of the word yacht, and break down some of the more common types of yachts along with various styles and sizes.

Yacht Definition & Origin

The word yacht comes from the Dutch word “jacht”, which means to hunt, and refers to the quick and lightweight sailboats the Dutch navy used to pursue pirates and other enemies in shallow waters. Today, the word takes on a very different meaning. While there is no strict definition of the word today, a yacht is generally considered as a boat used for pleasure, whether you’re cruising open waters, racing or island-hopping for the weekend. Typically, we consider a boat to be a yacht if it has an overnight cabin onboard, is more than 33 feet long, and generally looks nicer than your average vessel.

Pleasure boats have been around for hundreds of years, which is no surprise when you consider our options for transportation around that time. Without planes, cars, bikes or scooters, humans turned to the one form of transportation they knew well for pleasure – the ship.

Sailing Yacht History

Sailing yachts have been a thing since at least the beginning of the 1660s in Europe, when King James of England commissioned a sailing yacht for his son Henry, the Prince of Wales. But it was Charles II, the Kind of Scotland, who brought the term “yacht” into the mainstream after spending time exiled in the Netherlands. Once Charles got home, he began commissioning royal yachts left and right.

Steam Yacht History

Steam Yachts also have quite the history, which started as massive and luxurious sailing yachts with steam auxiliary engines. These yachts were much larger, and carried full crews complete with a cook, captain, engineer, stewards and deck hands. By the late 1700s, screw propellers were installed and the engines became far more efficient. Eventually, compound engines came about and persisted until the internal combustion took over.

Power Yacht History

Powerboats with 4-stroke gas engines were first developed by Nicolaus Otto and Gottlieb Daimler in 1876. Then in the 1900s, diesel engines became the more popular option because of their lower cost and improved reliability.

Yacht Types

Today, yachts fall into one of two general categories – sailing yachts and motor yachts.

Sailing Yachts

A sailing yacht is a leisure craft that relies on its sails for the primary method of movement, made from natural, synthetic or carbon fibers. Sailing yachts are split into two main categories: cruisers and raisers.

Cruising Yachts

A cruising yacht is designed for comfort above anything else. These yachts are ideal for overnight and lengthy journeys, typically equipped with all the comforts of home, including full kitchens (galleys), bathrooms (heads) and beds. They’re also designed to be slightly easier to maintain.

At the smaller end, we have what’s called as a “trailer sailer”. These yachts are generally shorter than 25 feet, and can be pulled by the average car. But anything shorter than 33 feet is considered a small sailing yacht. The next level is 33-45 feet, referred to as near-shore yachts. Offshore yachts are the largest category, including vessels larger than 45 feet.

Racing Yachts

A racing yacht is designed with performance top of mind, rather than comfort. World Sailing, the governing body for the sport of international sailing, recognizes 11 different classes of sailing yachts, but each share some general characteristics.

On a racing yacht, aerodynamics is prioritized. These yachts come in a variety of shapes and weights, but performance is the underlying motivation for all. Similar to aerodynamics but underwater, hydrodynamically efficient hulls allow boats to pull through the water with minimal drag or extra motion. Finally, for peak performance, these sailing yachts typically use full-battened Kevlar or carbon fiber sails.

Motor Yachts

Motor yachts come in all shapes and sizes, built with a variety of different materials. Generally speaking, they range from 30-130 feet in length, but there are superyachts out there exceeding 500 feet (that’s over 150 metres!).

The hull of a motor yachts comes in three basic styles. A yacht with a full-displacement hull moves the water up and away, creating waves. These boats have the potential to be plenty powerful, but their speed is limited. Semi-displacement hulls are slightly faster, because they’re able to partially rise above the water. Last are the yachts with a planing hull. These yachts are the fastest, because of a flat underside and enough power to lift them onto the surface of the water.

The majority of modern motor yachts have at least one diesel engine. A boat with two engines is certainly more expensive, but well worth it when you consider the reliability and increased handling/performance.

When it comes to motor yacht styles, there are many. Here’s a brief introduction to a few different motor yacht styles:

  • Sport Motor Yacht : These powerful crafts are built with a semi-displacement and planing hulls, making them fast boats great for weekend adventures and short trips.
  • Trawler Motor Yacht : A trawler is known for its more traditional style with a displacement hull, designed for medium distance passage-making.
  • Cruising Motor Yacht : A cruising yacht is built for comfortable longer distance travel, equipped with a displacement hull.
  • Expedition Yacht : Similar to a cruising motor yacht, expedition yachts are built with a displacement hull for long distances, but these crafts specialize in passage-making in remote areas.
  • Mega Luxury Yachts : The mega luxury yachts is what you see and hear about on TV and in magazines. They’re hundred of feet long, designed for dozens of family and friends, and reserved for the super-rich.
  • Sports Fisherman Yacht : These yachts have semi-displacement or planing hulls for quick fishing trips where you need to be able to move well. On a sports fisherman yacht, there will also be extra space for fishing gear and large fish.
  • Lobster Yacht : A lobster yacht is similar to but quicker than a trawler, built with a semi-displacement or planing hull. These yachts get their name from their unique style – looking like classic Maine lobster boats.

If you’re looking for a new yacht, browse our current listings of sailing and motor yachts at Van Isle Marina. You can also visit us in Sidney at 2320 Harbour Road to see our stock in person, and our staff will be happy to help you out.

250 656 1138

2320 Harbour Road, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 2P6 [email protected]

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  • 1.1 Etymology
  • 1.2 Pronunciation
  • 1.3.1 Derived terms
  • 1.3.2 Translations
  • 1.4.1 Translations
  • 1.5 Anagrams
  • 2.1 Etymology
  • 2.2 Pronunciation
  • 2.4 Further reading
  • 3.1 Etymology
  • 3.2 Pronunciation
  • 3.4 References
  • 3.5 Further reading
  • 4.1 Etymology
  • 5.1 Etymology
  • 5.3 References
  • 6.1 Etymology
  • 6.3 References
  • 7.1 Alternative forms
  • 7.2 Etymology
  • 7.3.1 Declension
  • 7.3.2 Derived terms
  • 7.4 Further reading

yacht origin meaning

Circa 1557; variant of yaught , earlier yeaghe ( “ light, fast-sailing ship ” ) , from Dutch jacht ( “ yacht; hunt ” ) , in older spelling jaght(e) , short for jaghtschip ( “ light sailing vessel, fast pirate ship ” , literally “ pursuit ship ” ) , compound of jacht and schip ( “ ship ” ) .

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.


  • ( UK ) enPR : yŏt , IPA ( key ) : /jɒt/
  • ( US ) enPR : yät , IPA ( key ) : /jɑːt/ , /jɑt/
Audio ( ): ( )
  • Rhymes: -ɒt

yacht ( plural yachts )

  • 1897 December (indicated as 1898 ), Winston Churchill , chapter X, in The Celebrity: An Episode , New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company ; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd. , →OCLC : The skipper Mr. Cooke had hired at Far Harbor was a God-fearing man with a luke warm interest in his new billet and employer, and had only been prevailed upon to take charge of the yacht after the offer of an emolument equal to half a year's sea pay of an ensign in the navy.
  • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers , chapter VI, in The Younger Set , New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company , →OCLC : “I don’t mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera,   [ … ] , the chlorotic squatters on huge yachts ,   [ … ] , the neurotic victims of mental cirrhosis, the jewelled animals whose moral code is the code of the barnyard—!"

Derived terms

  • motor yacht , motoryacht , MY
  • sailing yacht , steam yacht , SY
  • yacht person


        (yaḵt) (yaḵt)   (zbosanav)   (jáxta)     (jáhta)   (rwakhle)   (tsiyu)   (yóutǐng)           ,     ,     ,         (iaxṭa)     ,         (giot),     (thalamigós)     (yakhta) (yāxṭ)           ,       (yotto) (äxta) (tuuk kɑmsaan) (yoteu) (yahta)   (hư̄a bai)         (jahta) (darvuult ongoc)       (yât)                 (jáxta)   ,                   ,   (rʉʉa-bai), ,       (jáxta)     ,
    (jahta)         ,         (thalamigós)     (yakhta)     (fune),   (bōto)   ,  

yacht ( third-person singular simple present yachts , present participle yachting , simple past and past participle yachted )

  • ( intransitive ) To sail , voyage , or race in a yacht .
(darvuult ongocoor javax)
  • Cathy , tachy , tachy- , yatch

Borrowed from English yacht , from Dutch jacht .

  • IPA ( key ) : /jɔt/ , /jot/ , ( Canada ) /jat/
Audio: ( )

yacht   m ( plural yachts )

Further reading

  • “ yacht ”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [ Digitized Treasury of the French Language ] , 2012 .

Unadapted borrowing from English yacht .

  • IPA ( key ) : /ˈjɔt/ [1]
  • Rhymes: -ɔt

yacht   m ( invariable )

  • the letter Y in the Italian spelling alphabet
  • ^ yacht in Luciano Canepari , Dizionario di Pronuncia Italiana (DiPI)
  • yacht in Treccani.it – Vocabolario Treccani on line , Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Borrowed from English yacht .

yacht   ? ( plural yachts )

  • ( Jersey ) yacht

Norwegian Bokmål

From Dutch jacht , via English yacht .

yacht   m ( definite singular yachten , indefinite plural yachter , definite plural yachtene )

  • “yacht” in The Bokmål Dictionary .

Norwegian Nynorsk

yacht   m ( definite singular yachten , indefinite plural yachtar , definite plural yachtane )

  • “yacht” in The Nynorsk Dictionary .

Alternative forms

yacht   c

Declension of  
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
  • yacht in Svenska Akademiens ordlista ( SAOL )
  • yacht in Svensk ordbok ( SO )
  • yacht in Svenska Akademiens ordbok ( SAOB )

yacht origin meaning

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To the Bitter End: How Sailors Have Shaped the English Language

yacht origin meaning

While writing an article recently, I noticed that I’d used at least three expressions that have a clear nautical origin.

This, sadly, was not a rare example of me being clever, but rather shows just how many English words and phrases derive from our maritime past. 

Let’s begin, as any proper nautical education should, with our ports and our starboards. 

Port and starboard 

Before boats had rudders, they were steered by a board on the right side, which was known as a steerboard.  Thus it became the ‘steerboard side’.  The left side then became the side on which to tie up in port, so as to not damage the steerboard when docking. 

King Henry V1 of England wanted bigger guns on his ships, and ordered cannons too big to be tied on deck in the traditional manner.  He commissioned a Frenchman to solve the problem, who then built doors in the sides of the ship that the cannons could be fired through.  French word for door: porte. 

And there you have  it, the portholes we look through each day were originally built to fire a cannon through.   Now that would clear the summertime anchorage in Cala di Volpe pretty quick.  You are too close to my boat.  I can hear your music. Your stews are playing that song by Alicia Keys…again.  Roll out the cannons!  Ah, look at that. You are indeed on fire. 

While we’re on the subject of cannons, ‘Loose Cannon’ came from the danger present when a cannon that was tied in place on deck came free of its lashings and careened around the deck, often crushing crew under its heavy wheels.


This expression comes from the barbaric punishment of pushing a sailor on a rope over the side and dragging him under the boat from side to side.  Being put on watch for sleeping in doesn’t seem so bad now, does it. 

Letting the cat out of the bag

Reminding us again how lucky we have it, this expression comes from the 9- tailed whip used to discipline sailors, which was apparently stored in a bag made of red material so as to hide the bloodstains.  When the cat was let out of the bag, trouble was coming. 

The origins above are not generally contested.  But with the next ones, the waters get a bit murkier.

cat o nine tails 1200

There is quite a fashion for attributing nautical origins to English phrases,  a trend which many commentators put down to a mysterious organisation called CANOE: the Committee to Ascribe a Nautical Origin to Everything.

A word of warning:  If you did look up CANOE, you’d be wasting your time as it is imaginary- unless of course you enjoy  looking at pictures of people wearing fluorescent clothing and helmets sitting  in hollowed out pieces of plastic and bashing into big rocks. 

Many of the popular nautical origins of sayings have been, if not disproved, then at least discredited by etymologists (not entymologists, as insects have no place in this story).  This is a shame (not the insect part, although if you were partial to insects I can see how that too would be disheartening), because some of the best stories have been found to be large parts fiction.  

In case you aren’t familiar with it, the most common explanation for the word ‘posh’ is that on the ships that passed between England and India in colonial days, the wealthier passengers would be allocated the cabins that received the least sunlight, in order to make their long journey more comfortable.    Therefore, port out, starboard home. POSH.  Apparently this abbreviation was written either on the passenger tickets, or scrawled in chalk on the guest luggage, to help the crew deliver the trunks to the correct cabins.

However, this is where the story starts to take on water , for no ticket has ever been found with the abbreviation POSH on it, nor a photo uncovered where the trunks had those chalk markings. Considering that many photos have survived from this era, where people gathered on the quay upon departure posing for photos amidst piles of luggage trunks, the absence of photographic proof makes it highly unlikely that the expression POSH evolved from here.  Furthermore, as Fiona MacPherson from the Oxford Dictionary blog  rightly points out, this origin doesn’t account for the return journey from India, where the sunlight would have fallen on the other side of the ship, necessitating the abbreviation ‘soph’. 

Oh, he’s so soph.  It's a shame the Port Out Starboad Home theory doesn't bear scrutiny, because it’s a jolly good story, and in the absence of an interesting alternative, I am going to hold out hope for a ‘posh’ ticket to be discovered one day in an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

posh 1200

Son of a gun

Another highly contested entry into the CANOE hall of fame is ‘son of a gun’, which has several possible explanations and has been around since at least 1708.

One possible and popular option is that when women were allowed to travel on the ships during passages, that the resulting babies would be conceived or born (or both) on the gun deck. 

Another, along the same lines, is that when a baby was born on board with unclear paternity, the child was apparently called ‘son of a gun’.    

However, another explanation is a good deal stronger: that a child born to a sailor or soldier, was simply called ‘son of a gun’ as the child of a military man. 

The difficulty in tracing these things and their meanings can be seen in the fact that son of a gun can either be complimentary: ‘You did it, you son of a gun!’, or derogatory: ‘He stole it, that son of a gun!’ (much like son of a bitch).   As we can’t even manage to be definitive in what sayings like this mean now, it is very difficult to know what they meant hundreds of years ago.  Ask an Australian, for instance, what a ‘bogan’ is.  You’re likely to get a wide range of answers, which may or may not involve the word ‘Holden’.  Language is a funny thing, as our crusty friends at CANOE will no doubt attest.

Another phrase of unclear origin is Hunky-Dory,  the most interesting story offered is that it came from the name of a street in Japan where sailors could find all sorts of pleasures:  Honki dori. 

Back on more solid etymological ground now, there is little argument about the following:

Feeling blue

Comes from the tradition of arriving in port with blue flags up and a blue line painted on the hull when the boat has lost a captain or senior office on a voyage.  Although it’s possible that below decks they were having a party, given the lashings and keel-haulings mentioned above. 

This expression definitely came about when the excess fat from boiling meat for crew meals was scraped off and stored in barrels that were then sold ashore for extra money for the crew.  The fat was referred to as slush, so there came about ‘slush fund’.  Over the years it took on a political meaning for dodgy campaign funds, but also exists still as an expression for extra money made on the side.

Phrases.co.uk gives this quote from  The Royal Navy Men’s Advocate , 1757:

Tars whose stomachs are not very squeamish, can bear to paddle their Fingers in stinking slush’, and in the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1756 there appears : ‘he used much slush (the rancid fat of pork) amongst his victuals.’   Victuals is an old fashioned word for food.

That last quote in itself should be enough to get us to stop whingeing to our chefs to have more/less/better variations of burger days. 

This comes from a small, triangular sail that set above the other sails on a square rigger.  It seemed, as it were, to scrape the sky. 

Pirate ships pixabay

Three sheets to the wind

Now this one has a certain sailing origin, and one which some of us can no doubt relate to.  For those struggling to follow, it means drunk. Not just a little bit tipsy, but the type ricocheting from wall to wall and telling all and sundry that 'I love you, man.' This phrase comes from the sailing terminology that if three sheets were loose, the sail would flap about wildly and the boat would’ lurch about like a drunken sailor’.  It used to be three sheets in the wind, for the sailing pedants out there.  Tipsy was one sheet, and ‘well on the way’ was two sheets to the wind.  (For those working on motoryachts who might make the mistake of thinking a ‘sheet’ is a sail, it’s not, it’s a line, so if the ‘sheet’ is loose, the sail flaps about.  This is the kind of splendidly illogical terminology that sailors delight in tripping motoryacht crew up with, so be wary.)

As the crow flies 

Prior to modern navigational techniques, British ships carried a cage of crows, which would be released to show which direction the closest land was. 

Taken aback

is  also a definite entry for the gnarly CANOE lads, as the words ‘taken aback’ used to mean when the sails of a ship were blown flat against the masts and spars and the boat stopped moving forward.   

Push the boat out

This phrase emerged from acts of generosity, in the act of helping someone push their boat off the shore. The meaning changed over time into acts of generosity in the bar, whereby if someone was told it was time to ‘push the boat out’, it meant it was time for them to buy a round.     In recent years it has changed again; now its common use is to spend extravagantly. 

As for origin of the word 'yacht'?

The Oxford Dictionary explains the origins of yacht as ‘mid 16th cent.: from early modern Dutch jaghte, from jaghtschip ‘fast pirate ship’, from jag(h)t ‘hunting’ + schip ‘ship’'.

The bitter end

The Bitt is a cleat or post on the deck of a ship, for fastening lines. When a line or chain is played out to the bitter end, it means there is no more line to be used. 

Next time: Is 'it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey' a naval expression? Why do we say 'clean slate', and 'Davy Jones' Locker?' Please ask a question or tell us which expressions 21 st  century seafarers are adding to the language! 

First published by OnboardOnline on 29th January 2014. Last updated on 04th December 2020.

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Definition of yacht noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

yacht origin meaning

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History of Yachting

History of the Yacht

By: American Sailing Sailing History

When does a boat become a yacht? One answer has always been, you can tell a yacht when you see one. But, It really has nothing to do with size of the boat, weight of the boat, its style, sleeping quarters, heads, tillers, or a wheel. A yacht is a boat that was designed for the express pleasure of its owner.

The yacht is an invention of the 14th century Dutch. The Dutch used small, fast boats for chasing smugglers, pirates and criminals. Rich ship owners and merchants began using these small “ jaghts ” to sail out to celebrate their returning merchant ships. It quickly became chic to use these “ jaghts ” to take friends out just for pleasure.

Mary / King Charles II

“ Mary ” was presented to King Charles II by the Dutch in 1660.

Charles II of England spent 10 years in exile in Holland before he was returned to the English throne in 1660. His return to the throne was celebrated by the city of Amsterdam, presenting him with a luxurious 60’ yacht including a crew of 20. Her name was Mary. He took great pleasure in sailing her up and down the Thames. He studied navigation and even naval architecture and he built approximately 20 yachts during his lifetime. It can be said that he was the world’s first yachtsman. His enthusiasm for yachting was contagious and his brother James, Duke of York, joined him and also became an avid yachtsman as well.

As always when there are two sailboats on the water a race ensues. Soon the first organized regatta was planned as a 40-mile race on the Thames. It took place in 1661 between Katherine , Charles’s newly constructed yacht and Anne , the Duke of York’s new yacht with Charles himself at the helm Katherine won and a new sport was born.

Yachting stayed the Sport of Kings for over a century, but by the 1800s yachting had grown to included participants of more than just the crown heads of Europe. The worlds wealthiest had joined in. Yacht Clubs were forming. The first yacht club in the world, called the Cork Water Club , was established in Ireland in 1720, followed the Lough Ree Yacht Club in 1770 (again in Ireland), and the Starcross Yacht Club in 1772 in England.

Cowes Castle. 1801.

Cowes Castle became the headquarters of the Royal Yacht Squadron around 1858.

Probably the most famous of all the English yacht clubs the The Royal Yacht Squadron was founded on June 1, 1815 in the Thatched House Tavern in St James’s, London as The Yacht Club by 42 gentlemen interested in yachting.

Across the pond the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was started on July 30, 1844 when John Cox Stevens invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack , anchored in New York Harbor. They formed a syndicate to build a yacht with the intention of taking her to England and making some money competing in yachting regattas and match races. They choose to build a Pilot style Schooner to represent the club; at the time there was no faster design!

Pilot Schooners would lie at anchor in the inner harbor of New York City and wait for the behmoth square rigged Clippers carrying goods between America and Europe. The Pilot Boats purpose was to guide the huge square riggers that would appear at the entrance to New York Harbor’s Verazno Straights, to a berth in the City. The Schooners had to be fast to make a living. First one to the cargo ship got the job second got nothing.

The syndicate contracted with master schooner designer George Steers for a 101 ft (30.78 m) schooner which was christened America and launched on the 3 of May 1851. America crossed the Atlantic on her own bottom that year and challenged all of England’s fastest yachts to a match race. No yachts were willing to race her. Finally, America joined a free-for-all on Friday, August 22, around the Isle of Wight, racing against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the club’s annual 53-nautical-mile (98 km) race around the Isle of Wight. Finishing 8 minutes ahead of its closest rival. America had won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “ Hundred Guinea Cup “, later called the America’s Cup in honor of the yacht that won it.

The Yacht America

The Yacht America

Watching the race was Queen Victoria, who supposedly inquired, “ Which is first? ” Told it was America , she asked, “ Which is second? ” “ Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second, ” was the reply. Or so the story goes. The NYYC defended that trophy from 1870-1983. This has been described by journalists as “ the longest winning streak in sports “.

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Definition of yacht

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of yacht  (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

Examples of yacht in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yacht.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

obsolete Dutch jaght , from Middle Low German jacht , short for jachtschip , literally, hunting ship

1557, in the meaning defined above

1836, in the meaning defined above

Phrases Containing yacht

Articles related to yacht.


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Cite this Entry

“Yacht.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yacht. Accessed 4 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of yacht.

Kids Definition of yacht  (Entry 2 of 2)

from obsolete Dutch jaght (now jacht ), short for jachtschip, literally, "hunting ship"

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What does the noun yacht mean?

There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun yacht . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definition, usage, and quotation evidence.

Entry status

OED is undergoing a continuous programme of revision to modernize and improve definitions. This entry has not yet been fully revised.

How common is the noun yacht ?

How is the noun yacht pronounced?

British english, u.s. english, where does the noun yacht come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun yacht is in the late 1500s.

OED's earliest evidence for yacht is from before 1584, in the writing of S. Borough.

yacht is a borrowing from Dutch.

Etymons: Dutch jaght(e .

Nearby entries

  • yabber, v. 1841–
  • yabbering, n. 1839–
  • yabble, n. 1827–
  • yabble, v. 1808–
  • yabbler, n. 1901–
  • yabby, n. 1887–
  • yabby, v. 1941–
  • yabbying, n. 1934–
  • yabu, n. 1753–
  • yacca, n. 1843–
  • yacht, n. a1584–
  • yacht, v. 1836–
  • yacht basin, n. 1929–
  • yacht broker, n. 1882–
  • yachtdom, n. 1901–
  • yachter, n. 1828–
  • yachtery, n. 1861–
  • yachtian, n. 1842–
  • yachtie, n. 1874–
  • yachting, n. 1836–
  • yachting, adj. 1847–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, compounds & derived words, entry history for yacht, n..

yacht, n. was first published in 1921; not yet revised.

yacht, n. was last modified in July 2023.

Revision of the OED is a long-term project. Entries in oed.com which have not been revised may include:

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Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into yacht, n. in July 2023.

Earlier versions of this entry were published in:

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Citation details

Factsheet for yacht, n., browse entry.

LOGO Yachting NEWS blu 800


Yacht : modern meaning of the term and types of boats

  • Luca D'Ambrosio
  • February 25, 2023

The etymology of the term yacht comes from the Dutch word ‘jacht’, which was used in the past to define the fast sailing vessels used to hunt down pirates along the coasts of northern Europe.

Today, the term ‘yacht’ is used to describe all recreational vessels, whether sailing or motor-powered, with at least one cabin that allows the crew to sleep on board.

There is no established definition for the length of this family of boats, but common usage tends to define a yacht as a vessel longer than 33 feet, or about 10 meters.

As mentioned above, a yacht may be equipped with sailing, motor or mixed propulsion. It can have more than one hull, and if it exceeds 25 meters it also deserves the definition of superyacht . When a yacht is over 50 meters it is called a megayacht and, more and more frequently, when it exceeds 100 meters it becomes a gigayacht.

A yacht normally flies a flag that corresponds to the country where the vessel is registered, not least because, if it does not, it may be captured and taken to the nearest port for ‘flag survey’. As far as international maritime law is concerned, the yacht is considered in all respects to be the territory of the country of the flag it flies, to whose sovereignty the crew is subject.

A yacht flying the flag of a country, unless there is well-founded suspicion of illegal activity, can only be stopped for inspection by the military vessels of that country. When a yacht enters the territorial waters of a country other than that of its flag, it is obliged to fly a courtesy flag.

This is tantamount to a declaration of submission to the navigational laws of the country in which it is sailing.

Sailing and motor-powered yachts

The first major distinction is between sailing yachts and motoryachts. The current worldwide spread of these two families has shifted decisively towards motor yachts, which make up about 75% of the total sailing fleet.

Progress and design have produced many different categories of motor yachts, so let’s discover them together.


Seen from the stern, a flybridge yacht is often equipped with a “beach club”, a platform that facilitates access to the sea and on which water toys are placed or simply used for diving. A staircase, or even two symmetrical staircases, leads from this platform to the main deck. Sometimes there is a “garage” between these two staircases to house the engine room, a tender and other on-board equipment.

The main deck is characterized by the presence of a helm station, inside of which a large open-space salon houses settees and a galley. The helm station often leads below deck, also known as the lower deck, where the sleeping quarters, or cabins, are normally located.


The foredeck often has a large sundeck bordered by a “bowplate” for hauling anchor. The bow is often “fenced in” by the handrails, which are vital grips for safety at sea.

Let’s get to why a yacht is called a flybridge. The flybridge is an upper deck, open 360 degrees and often covered by a hard-top, a roof usually made of fibreglass. The flybridge usually has an additional helm station to steer from a more panoramic position. An additional galley is often located on the flybridge, as well as additional lounge seating and sun decks.

Open Yachts

An open yacht has no flybridge and its main deck is commonly all open. The helm station can frequently be sheltered by a T-Top. Below deck, depending on the length of the yacht, there are living spaces for the crew which may include dinette, cabins and facilities. Open yachts can be walk-around, i.e. with the possibility for passengers of walking freely around the perimeter of the boat, or they can have an enclosed bow and thus have a raised deck.

yacht 1

A coupe yacht is a yacht without a flybridge, characterized by a sporty design, with the main deck open aft. Very often it has a sunroof and is always equipped with side-decks connecting the stern to the bow. It is a vessel that, depending on its size, is suitable for medium to long-distance cruising.

coupe yacht

This is an important type of yacht, which has its origins on the American East Coast where it was used to catch lobsters. It has a romantic, sometimes vintage aesthetic, and is endowed with sinuous lines that, for some, are evocative of the 1950s. Very suitable for cruising and conviviality, thanks also to a large sofa in the cockpit, the lobster is an iconic boat that offers plenty of comfort and space below deck for at least one cabin and one head.


The trawler is essentially a yacht for owners who want to spend a lot of time on board. This is why interior volumes are maximized and the upper deck is always present. Also part of the trawler family are the famous Menorcan boats, inspired by the llaüts of the Menorca island..

Increasingly popular among motor yachts, too, is the multihull, due to its inherent features of stability and capacity. In most cases it is a catamaran designed for long stays at sea.

Sailing yacht

Sailing yachts are vessels where propulsion should mainly rely on the power transmitted by the wind. In the past, sailing yacht engines were low-powered and mainly used for entering and leaving ports, but today, for obvious reasons of practicality and ease of use, they have enough power to make the sailing yacht cruise at a speed at least equal to its theoretical hull speed. This means that sailing yachts can be used efficiently even in the total absence of wind.

A sailing yacht can be rigged in many different ways, these being the most common in modern times:

Sloop : this is the most common rigging on modern boats, characterized by the presence of a single mast with a mainsail and a jib or genoa. Sloop rigging has become popular over the years because it is the easiest to handle with a small crew and also offers the best ease of use/sailing performance ratio.

Cutter : Widely used for long distance sailing, it is characterized by the presence of a mainsail and two jibs rigged on a single mast. Normally the two jibs are a genoa and foresail that are used individually, depending on the weather conditions.

Ketch : this is the most commonly used rig on two-masted sailing yachts, with a mainmast, rigged with a mainsail and genoa, and a mizzenmast, forward of the rudder shaft, rigged with a single mainsail. The splitting of the sails makes this type of yacht suitable for sailing in bad weather.

Yawl : exactly the same as a ketch but with the mizzen mast located aft of the rudder shaft.

Sailing yachts can be monohulls or multihulls, i.e. catamarans or trimarans, but in all cases they can be divided into these categories:

sailing yacht

Easy to handle and with plenty of space above and below deck, this type of yacht is normally characterized by an unbalanced length/width ratio favouring the latter, a small sail area and more powerful than average engines.

The interiors are fully equipped and sophisticated, with each cabin often having its own en-suite head.

The deck plan and sailing equipment are simplified, often electrified and minimal.


sail-powered yacht

This yacht, while still featuring a luxurious and complete interior, also has all the equipment needed for sail fine-tuning and a generous sail area.

This is a category where special attention is paid to both the overall weight of the boat and the hull shape.

The hull lines are in fact designed to enhance performance and, inevitably, this results in a slightly smaller interior than that of pure cruising yachts of the same length.



The owner who buys this type of yacht has already competed in club competitions and now wants to engage in higher level racing. The hulls are light and can sometimes be made of carbon, and all the sail adjustments are fine-tuned to achieve maximum performance.

The deck plan is definitely designed for crewed racing and the sail area/displacement ratio is unbalanced in favour of the former, making this yacht more difficult to handle with a smaller crew but, conversely, capable of performance similar to a pure racing yacht.

A pure racing yacht is a sailing yacht built exclusively for racing. Free from any commercial constraints, it is built according to the type of race to be competed in and, above all, the rating to be obtained. The interiors of this boat are minimal. This yacht is capable of planing and sailing upwind at very low wind angles, but is almost never used for recreational purposes.


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yacht origin meaning

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Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of yacht in English

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  • They spent their annual holiday on a chartered yacht in the Caribbean .
  • He spent three days adrift on his yacht.
  • His eyes were fixed on the distant yacht.
  • If they can afford a yacht, they must be rolling in it.
  • She sailed around the world single-handed in her yacht.
  • cabin cruiser
  • dragon boat
  • rubber dinghy

yacht | American Dictionary

Examples of yacht, collocations with yacht.

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yacht origin meaning

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What Does Yacht Mean? (The Definition and History Explained)

yacht origin meaning

Ah, the luxurious lifestyle of the yacht.

Whether youve seen one in the harbor or on a distant horizon, the image of a yacht has a certain allure and mystique.

But what exactly is a yacht? From the definition to the different types, the history, and the lifestyle, there is so much to explore.

In this article, we will uncover the mysteries of the yacht, and explore the different types, the races, and the luxury amenities that come with them.

Get ready to set sail!.

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Yacht is a term used to describe a recreational boat or vessel that is used for pleasure trips and sailing.

It typically refers to a larger, more luxurious boat than a regular fishing or leisure boat.

Generally, yachts are meant for longer trips, usually with more than one person on board.

Yachts can range in size depending on the type of boat and its intended use, but all will typically include luxury features and amenities for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

The Definition of Yacht

Yacht is a term often used to describe a variety of large and luxurious recreational boats, typically used for personal pleasure or sport.

Yachts can be defined as any boat or vessel that is used for leisure and recreational activities.

While the term yacht may be used to describe any kind of boat, it is most commonly used to refer to large, expensive boats designed for recreation, luxury, and leisure.

These vessels are typically larger than other recreational boats, and can range from modest day-sailers to luxury mega-yachts with all the amenities of a home.

Yachts are usually crewed by professional or paid crew and can be used for activities such as fishing, cruising, racing, and even as a floating holiday home.

Yachts may be owned either by individuals or by companies, and typically contain a variety of amenities such as staterooms, sleeping areas, dining areas, and entertainment areas.

Yachts are often used in the charter industry, where they are rented for short-term use, and can be found in harbor cities and coastal towns around the world.

Yachting is a popular recreational activity that has been around for centuries, and can be traced back to ancient Greece.

Yachting has long been associated with wealth and luxury, with the earliest yachts being owned by wealthy aristocrats.

In modern times, yachting has become more accessible to people of all backgrounds, with a variety of yachting activities and vessels available to meet a variety of budgets and preferences.

The term yacht is derived from the Dutch word jacht, which translates to hunt.

The term was originally used to refer to small, fast vessels used by the Dutch navy to chase and capture pirates.

Over time, the term has come to refer to large, luxurious recreational vessels that are often used for pleasure and leisure.

Yachts have become a symbol of wealth and luxury, and are often associated with the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Types of Yachts

yacht origin meaning

When it comes to yachts, there are several different types available.

The most common type is the sailing yacht, which is propelled through the water by sails and is typically smaller than other types of yachts.

Motor yachts, on the other hand, are powered by an engine and are typically larger than sailing yachts .

Another popular type of yacht is the sport fishing yacht, which combines the luxury of a motor yacht with the convenience of fishing.

These yachts often have advanced navigational equipment, fishing tackle, and other amenities.

Finally, there are luxury yachts, which are the most luxurious of all yachts and typically feature amenities such as jet skis, hot tubs, and full-service bars.

No matter which type of yacht you choose, they all provide a luxurious experience on the water.

Yacht Racing

Yacht racing is one of the most popular activities associated with yachts, and it has a long and storied history.

Yacht racing dates back to the 1800s and has been a popular pastime ever since.

The sport is often divided into two main categories: offshore and inshore racing.

Offshore racing involves navigating the open waters of the ocean, while inshore racing is confined to the waters near shore.

In both types of racing, yachts compete against each other to see who can complete the course in the shortest amount of time.

Yacht racing is typically governed by the rules and regulations of the International Sailing Federation, which sets out a standard for the equipment and safety of the yachts and the sailors onboard.

Yacht racing is a highly competitive sport, and it is a great way to test the skills and strategies of the crew.

There are a variety of different classes of yacht racing, ranging from small dinghies and keelboats to large ocean-going yachts.

The most prestigious class of yacht racing is the America’s Cup, which is the oldest and most prestigious sailing race in the world.

The America’s Cup has been held since 1851 and is now held every four years in a different location.

Yacht racing is an exciting and challenging sport, and it is one of the most popular activities associated with yachts.

Whether it is a day sail or a full-fledged race, yacht racing is a great way to experience the thrill of sailing and the camaraderie of the crew.

Yacht Charters & Cruising

yacht origin meaning

When people think of yachts, they usually think of luxury and leisurely cruising around the ocean.

Yacht charters have become increasingly popular, allowing people to enjoy the freedom of the open seas without having to purchase their own yacht.

Yacht charters offer a variety of packages, depending on the size and amenities of the yacht, the type of cruise being taken, and the number of people being accommodated.

Chartering a yacht is a great way to explore a variety of destinations and enjoy a variety of activities, from fishing and swimming to sightseeing and sunbathing.

Yacht charters typically include a professional crew to manage the vessel, as well as a variety of amenities such as a chef, cabin crew, and a variety of water toys.

Some charter companies even offer special packages for romantic getaways, corporate retreats, or special occasions.

Safety is always a priority when it comes to yacht charters, and all vessels must adhere to strict safety regulations.

All vessels must be inspected and certified by the relevant maritime authority and must be equipped with the necessary safety equipment.

Yacht charters are typically subject to local laws and regulations and must be operated in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Whether youre looking for a private escape or a unique corporate event, yacht charters offer a luxurious and convenient way to explore the open seas.

From discovering new destinations to enjoying the comforts of home away from home, yacht charters provide an unforgettable experience for all.

The History of Yachts

The term yacht has been around since the 1600s, and it has come to represent a broad range of luxurious recreational boats.

The word itself is derived from the Dutch term jacht, which translates to hunt.

In the 1600s, yachts were used for military purposes, such as scouting and patrolling.

Over time, however, the term yacht has come to refer to any large, luxurious recreational boat.

Modern yachts are typically larger than other recreational boats, and range from modest day-sailers to luxury mega-yachts with all the amenities of a home.

Yachts are typically crewed by professional or paid crew and can be used for activities such as fishing, cruising, racing, and even as a floating holiday home.

The evolution of the yacht has been quite remarkable.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yachts were primarily used by the wealthy and elite to show off their wealth and status.

Yachts of this era were often quite elaborate and ornate, with richly decorated decks, lavish interior spaces, and even an onboard orchestra.

As technology improved, so did the capabilities of yachts.

In the late 1920s, the modern sailing yacht was invented and became the norm, allowing for a more comfortable and efficient sailing experience.

In the mid-20th century, motor yachts were developed, making navigation and speed much easier.

By the latter part of the 20th century, yacht builders began to focus more on luxury and comfort, with modern yachts featuring amenities such as spas, fitness centers, multiple decks, luxurious cabins, and more.

Today, yachts are still seen as a symbol of wealth and status, and there is a great deal of competition in the luxury yacht market.

There are many different types of yachts to choose from, from modest day-sailers to mega-yachts that can cost millions of dollars.

Yachts of all sizes can be used for a variety of activities, from fishing, cruising, and racing, to simply enjoying the beauty of the open sea.

The Yacht Lifestyle

yacht origin meaning

Yachting is more than just a leisure activity; it is a lifestyle.

From the outside, it might appear to be a glamorous and luxurious pursuit, but there is much more to it than that.

Yachting is a unique way of life that is rich in adventure, exploration, and relaxation.

It is an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing you to explore the world in a more intimate and luxurious way.

Yachting provides an opportunity to experience the world in a way that is both exciting and luxurious.

Whether it be racing around the world or simply enjoying the gentle breeze of a summer day, yachting is a great way to explore the world.

You can explore remote destinations, experience different cultures, and even explore the depths of the sea.

With a yacht, the possibilities are truly endless.

The yacht lifestyle is also a great way to relax and enjoy the finer things in life.

With a yacht, you can enjoy the luxury of a five-star hotel, complete with a dedicated crew to cater to your needs.

On board, you can enjoy fine dining, top-shelf drinks, and all the amenities of a luxurious hotel.

You can also take advantage of the yacht’s amenities, such as a gym, swimming pool, spa, and even a movie theater.

The yacht lifestyle also offers the opportunity to meet new people and build relationships.

With a yacht, you can travel to different ports and meet new people from all over the world.

You can also host events on board, from intimate dinner parties to large gatherings.

At the end of the day, the yacht lifestyle is about living life to the fullest.

It is about exploring the world in luxury and relaxation.

It is about creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Whether you are a racing enthusiast or simply looking for a way to escape from the everyday grind, the yacht lifestyle is an unparalleled experience that is sure to provide a lifetime of memories.

Luxury Amenities of Yachts

When it comes to luxury and comfort, yachts are in a class of their own.

From plush furnishings and spacious cabins to state-of-the-art entertainment systems and private chef-prepared meals, yachts have all the amenities of a home but with the added benefit of being able to take them anywhere in the world.

Whether you’re looking to cruise the Mediterranean, fish the Pacific, or just relax in the Caribbean, yachts are the perfect way to do it in style.

Most yachts come equipped with fully-stocked wet bars, hot tubs, and even private movie theaters, making them the perfect place to entertain family and friends.

There are also plenty of options when it comes to entertainment, from game rooms to fishing equipment, and even water-sports equipment for those looking for a more active vacation.

Yachts also come equipped with the latest navigation and communications systems, so you can stay connected with the world even when you’re out at sea.

With satellite-based communication, you can even stay connected with friends and family back home.

Finally, when it comes to luxury amenities, yachts are the perfect way to pamper yourself.

From private spa treatments to personal chefs and masseuses, yachts provide the perfect opportunity to indulge and relax in style.

Final Thoughts

Yacht is a term that has a long and fascinating history, and today there are a variety of yachts that range from modest day-sailers to luxurious mega-yachts.

Yachts can be used for a variety of activities such as racing and cruising, and also offer a unique lifestyle with various luxury amenities.

If you’re looking to experience the luxury of a yacht, consider chartering one for a special occasion or take a sailing course to learn more about the yacht lifestyle.

No matter what, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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Definition of 'yacht'

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  • Nautical Sayings: Exploring the Fascinating World of Maritime Language

Ahoy there, fellow adventurers of the sea! Whether you're an experienced sailor or just someone fascinated by the world of nautical adventures, you've probably come across some intriguing and often perplexing maritime sayings. In this comprehensive article, we'll dive deep into the ocean of nautical sayings, yacht word origins, boating sayings, and the rich tapestry of nautical slang that has shaped the language of the high seas.

Setting Sail with Nautical Sayings

Ahoy, matey.

Our journey begins with the iconic greeting, "Ahoy, matey!" This classic nautical saying has been immortalized in countless pirate tales and seafaring adventures. But have you ever wondered about its origins and the fascinating history behind it?

The phrase "Ahoy, matey!" finds its roots in the 17th century when pirates and sailors needed a catchy and distinctive way to greet each other on the high seas. We'll explore how this phrase became a symbol of maritime camaraderie and adventure.

Charting the Course of Nautical Language 

Before we delve into specific nautical sayings, let's navigate through the history of maritime language. The sea has always been a source of inspiration for unique expressions, and understanding the evolution of this language is key to appreciating its richness.

Maritime language is a dynamic blend of influences from various cultures, including English, Dutch, and even French. We'll journey through time to uncover how these linguistic influences shaped the nautical lexicon we know today.

Knots and Nautical Expressions 

The maritime world is a treasure trove of fascinating expressions related to knots and ropes. From "tying the knot" to "left in the lurch," we'll unravel the meanings behind these captivating sayings.

Let's explore more nautical phrases related to knots, rigging, and seamanship. Each saying carries a unique history, often reflecting the practical challenges and traditions of sailors.

The Call of the Sea 

Beyond greetings and practical expressions, sailors had a language of their own to communicate effectively on the vast expanse of the ocean. We'll delve into the lesser-known but equally intriguing nautical phrases that were used for signaling, navigation, and coordination.

Discovering Yacht Word Origins

The yacht: a luxurious icon .

Yachts epitomize elegance and luxury on the water. But have you ever wondered where the term "yacht" itself comes from? Let's set sail on a journey through time to explore its origins.

The word "yacht" has a fascinating history that dates back to the early days of sailing. We'll trace its evolution from humble beginnings to the opulent vessels we associate with yachts today.

Yacht or Jacht: A Linguistic Odyssey 

Did you know that "yacht" is closely related to the Dutch word "jacht"? We'll uncover the linguistic connection between these two words and how it has influenced modern yacht culture.

The Dutch influence on yacht design and terminology is profound. We'll delve into how Dutch shipbuilders and explorers played a pivotal role in shaping the yacht industry.

The Golden Age of Yachting 

Yachting isn't just about boats; it's a cultural phenomenon with a rich history. During the 19th century, the "Golden Age of Yachting" saw a surge in yacht building and racing. We'll explore this period and its impact on yacht word origins.

Sailing Through Boating Sayings

Smooth sailing ahead.

When it comes to boating, the saying "smooth sailing" is music to a captain's ears. Join us as we explore the origin of this optimistic phrase and how it reflects the sailors' eternal quest for favorable winds.

"Smooth sailing" isn't just a saying; it embodies the aspirations and experiences of mariners throughout history. We'll recount stories of legendary voyages and the calm seas that inspired this expression.

Weathering the Storm 

Boating isn't always smooth sailing. Sometimes, sailors must "weather the storm." We'll examine the origin of this phrase and its enduring relevance to the maritime world.

Navigating storms at sea has always been a formidable challenge. We'll share tales of courage and resilience that shed light on the origins of this powerful metaphor.

Deciphering Nautical Slang

Aye, aye, captain .

Nautical slang is a language all its own, and "aye, aye, captain" is one of its most recognizable phrases. But what does it really mean, and why is it used so frequently on ships?

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Swabbing the Deck: Nautical Work Lingo 

"Swabbing the deck" might sound like a chore, but it's also a nautical saying with a rich history. We'll uncover its origins and its role in the daily life of sailors.

Navigating Ship Sayings

Shipshape and bristol fashion .

When something is "shipshape and Bristol fashion," it's in excellent condition. Discover the intriguing story behind this phrase, which hails from the bustling port city of Bristol.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 

Sometimes, sailors find themselves "between the devil and the deep blue sea." Explore the origins of this saying and the predicaments it describes.

Exploring Boat Phrases

In the same boat .

We often say we're "in the same boat" when facing a common challenge. But where does this saying come from, and why do we use it to express solidarity?

Casting Adrift: Origins of "Adrift" 

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By and large: a nautical measurement .

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Three Sheets to the Wind: A Nautical Reference to Intoxication

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Boating Phrases and Sailor Jargon

"know the ropes": mastering the art of sailing.

To "know the ropes" means to be skilled and knowledgeable. We'll sail through the history of this saying and its significance for sailors.

"The Whole Nine Yards": Nautical or Not?

Is "the whole nine yards" a nautical phrase? We'll unravel this linguistic mystery and see if it has nautical origins or not.

Sailing Expressions and Seafaring Terms

"batten down the hatches": preparing for a storm.

When sailors "batten down the hatches," they're preparing for a storm. Discover the practical origins of this vital nautical saying.

"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea": A Nautical Dilemma 

We revisit the phrase "between the devil and the deep blue sea" to explore its deeper connotations in the context of seafaring.

Nautical Words and Phrases: A Sailor's Lexicon

Nautical sayings: the ultimate lexicon .

Summarizing our exploration, we'll compile a comprehensive list of some of the most intriguing nautical words and phrases that have left their mark on the English language.

As we sail back to the shore of this captivating journey through nautical sayings and maritime language, it's clear that the sea has not only inspired adventurers but also enriched our vocabulary with colorful expressions. From "ahoy, matey" to "the whole nine yards," each saying carries a piece of nautical history that continues to resonate with us today.

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Denisa Nguyenová

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  1. The Yacht

    yacht origin meaning

  2. Did You Know ? #1 : The Origins of the Word "Yacht"

    yacht origin meaning

  3. Yacht Etymology

    yacht origin meaning

  4. What Does Yacht Mean? (The Definition and History Explained)

    yacht origin meaning

  5. Yacht : meaning of the term and types of boats

    yacht origin meaning

  6. Understanding Yacht Classifications

    yacht origin meaning


  1. Conor McGregors INSANE Yacht Origin Story

  2. Sunseeker Martinique 36 I Full Walkthrough I The Marine Channel


  1. The Yacht

    This word comes from the Dutch word "jacht", which means "hunt". Furthermore, " jachtschepen" was the name for narrow, light and very fast sailing boats that the Dutchmen were using for intercepting larger and slower boats and ships. One of the 'hunters' was given as a present to the British king Charles II.

  2. Yacht

    A yacht ( / jɒt /) is a sailing or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. [2] [3] [4] There is no standard definition, though the term generally applies to vessels with a cabin intended for overnight use. To be termed a yacht, as opposed to a boat, such a pleasure vessel is likely to be at least 33 feet (10 m) in length and may ...

  3. yacht

    Old English huntian "chase game" (transitive and intransitive), perhaps developed from hunta "hunter," and related to hentan "to seize," from Proto-Germanic *huntojan (source also of Gothic hinþan "to seize, capture," Old High German hunda "booty"), which is of uncertain origin.. Not the usual Germanic word for this, which is represented by Dutch jagen, German jagen (see yacht (n.)).

  4. Yacht Etymology

    The word "yacht" finds its origin in the Dutch word "jacht" or "jaght," meaning "hunt" or "chase." In the 17th century, these vessels were primarily used by the Dutch navy for pursuing pirates and engaging in coastal defense. Originally, a yacht was a fast and nimble sailing ship with a focus on performance rather than luxury.

  5. What is a Yacht? (History, Types of Yachts, Styles and Sizes)

    Yacht Definition & Origin. The word yacht comes from the Dutch word "jacht", which means to hunt, and refers to the quick and lightweight sailboats the Dutch navy used to pursue pirates and other enemies in shallow waters. Today, the word takes on a very different meaning. While there is no strict definition of the word today, a yacht is ...

  6. yacht

    Circa 1557; variant of yaught, earlier yeaghe (" light, fast-sailing ship "), from Dutch jacht (" yacht; hunt "), in older spelling jaght(e), short for jaghtschip (" light sailing vessel, fast pirate ship ", literally " pursuit ship "), compound of jacht and schip (" ship ").. In the 16th century the Dutch built light, fast ships to chase the ships of pirates and smugglers ...

  7. Yacht

    yacht, a sail- or power-driven vessel, usually light and comparatively small, used for racing or for recreation. In recreation, the term applies to very large craft, originally powered by sail and later by steam or internal-combustion engines. It is in this sense that the generality of nonyachting (nonsailing) people usually think of the term ...

  8. How Sailors Shaped the English Language

    As for origin of the word 'yacht'? The Oxford Dictionary explains the origins of yacht as 'mid 16th cent.: from early modern Dutch jaghte, from jaghtschip 'fast pirate ship', from jag(h)t 'hunting' + schip 'ship''. The bitter end. The Bitt is a cleat or post on the deck of a ship, for fastening lines.

  9. Yachting and sailing: Words of the waves

    Decoding the yacht: Definition and origin. A yacht is more than a vessel; it's a symbol of luxury and sophistication. Derived from the Dutch word "jacht," meaning "hunt" or "chase," yachts were initially swift, maneuverable ships used for pursuit. Over time, yachts have evolved into opulent pleasure craft enjoyed by sailing enthusiasts and the ...

  10. yacht noun

    Definition of yacht noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... Word Origin mid 16th cent.: from early modern Dutch jaghte, from jaghtschip 'fast pirate ship', from jag(h) ...

  11. History of the Yacht

    The yacht is an invention of the 14th century Dutch. The Dutch used small, fast boats for chasing smugglers, pirates and criminals. Rich ship owners and merchants began using these small " jaghts " to sail out to celebrate their returning merchant ships. It quickly became chic to use these " jaghts " to take friends out just for pleasure.

  12. Yacht Definition & Meaning

    yacht: [noun] any of various recreational watercraft: such as. a sailboat used for racing. a large usually motor-driven craft used for pleasure cruising.

  13. yacht, n. meanings, etymology and more

    Where does the noun yacht come from? Earliest known use. late 1500s. is a borrowing from Dutch. Etymons: Dutch jaght (e. See etymology.

  14. Yacht : meaning of the term and types of boats

    February 25, 2023. The etymology of the term yacht comes from the Dutch word 'jacht', which was used in the past to define the fast sailing vessels used to hunt down pirates along the coasts of northern Europe. Today, the term 'yacht' is used to describe all recreational vessels, whether sailing or motor-powered, with at least one cabin ...

  15. YACHT

    YACHT definition: 1. a boat with sails and sometimes an engine, used for either racing or travelling on for pleasure…. Learn more.

  16. What Does Yacht Mean? (The Definition and History Explained)

    Yachts can range in size depending on the type of boat and its intended use, but all will typically include luxury features and amenities for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The Definition of Yacht. Yacht is a term often used to describe a variety of large and luxurious recreational boats, typically used for personal pleasure or sport.

  17. What Is a Yacht? How Is It Different from Other Boats?

    A yacht is a water vessel used for recreation, racing, or cruising, powered by sail or motor. A yacht can be a medium-sized water vessel or a small ship used for private and official purposes. However, there is really no standard definition because you can use this term for any watercraft with cabins, accommodations, and amenities for overnight ...

  18. What is a yacht? Yacht definition and history. Yacht meaning explained

    In Dutch jaght (pronounced /ˈjɒt/) means hunting or hunt. This Dutch word is the precursor to the modern term yacht. Although best known for their more recent (and fun!) exploits in cannabis tourism, the Dutch Navy were shockingly more famous and well-known for their sailing expertise.

  19. Yacht Definition & Meaning

    plural yachts. Britannica Dictionary definition of YACHT. [count] : a large boat that is used for racing or pleasure. a sailing yacht. — see picture at boat.

  20. YACHT definition and meaning

    3 meanings: 1. a vessel propelled by sail or power, used esp for pleasure cruising, racing, etc 2. → short for sand yacht, ice.... Click for more definitions.

  21. What Defines A Yacht: Key Features And History

    Definition of a Yacht. Understanding what defines a yacht involves more than just its size or luxurious appeal. A yacht is a vessel used primarily for leisure, cruising, or racing. Typically, yachts are larger than other recreational boats, often exceeding 33 feet (10 meters) in length, which is a key factor when a boat is considered a yacht.

  22. Nautical Sayings: Origins, Slang, and Yacht Word History

    The maritime world is a treasure trove of fascinating expressions related to knots and ropes. From "tying the knot" to "left in the lurch," we'll unravel the meanings behind these captivating sayings. Let's explore more nautical phrases related to knots, rigging, and seamanship. Each saying carries a unique history, often reflecting the ...

  23. Sailing yacht

    Cockpit of classic racing yacht, Moonbeam of Fife, under sail in 2008 A sailing yacht (US ship prefixes SY or S/Y), is a leisure craft that uses sails as its primary means of propulsion. A yacht may be a sail or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. There is no standard definition, so the term applies here to sailing vessels that have a cabin with amenities that accommodate ...