ytterbium (n.) Look up ytterbium at
metallic rare-earth element, 1879, coined in Modern Latin by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858) from Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found. With metallic element ending -ium.
yttrium Look up yttrium at
metallic rare-earth element, 1866, coined in Modern Latin by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858) from Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found. With metallic element ending -ium.
yuan (n.) Look up yuan at
Chinese unit of currency introduced 1914, from Chinese yuan "round, round object, circle."
Yucatan Look up Yucatan at
said to be from a local word meaning "massacre." Related: Yucatecan.
yucca (n.) Look up yucca at
Central and South American name for the cassava plant, 1550s, from Spanish yuca, juca (late 15c.), probably from Taino, native language of Haiti.
yuck (1) Look up yuck at
exclamation of disgust, 1966, origin perhaps echoic (compare Newfoundland slang yuck "to vomit," 1963; U.S. slang yuck "despised person," 1943; provincial English yuck "the itch, mange, scabies"). Variant yech is by 1969.
yuck (2) Look up yuck at
"laugh," 1938, yock, probably imitative.
yucky (adj.) Look up yucky at
1970, from yuck (1) + -y (2). Related: Yuckiness.
Yugoslav (n.) Look up Yugoslav at
1853, from Slav + Serbo-Croatian jugo- "south," comb. form of jug "south, south wind, noon," from Old Church Slavonic jugu "south, south wind, noon."
Yugoslavia Look up Yugoslavia at
1929 (earlier the country was Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes); from Yugoslav + -ia. The name vanished from the map in 2003.
yuk (n.) Look up yuk at
"laughter, something evoking laughs," 1964, imitative; see yuck (2).
Yukon Look up Yukon at
territory of northwestern Canada, named for the river, from Athabaskan, perhaps Koyukon yookkene or Lower Tanana yookuna, said to mean "big river."
yule (n.) Look up yule at
Old English geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," from Old Norse jol (plural), a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity, of unknown origin.

The Old English (Anglian) cognate giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival. After conversion to Christianity it narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by 11c., except in the northeast (areas of Danish settlement), where it remained the usual word.

Revived 19c. by writers to mean "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.' " First direct reference to the Yule log is 17c. Old Norse jol seems to have been borrowed in Old French as jolif, hence Modern French joli "pretty, nice," originally "festive" (see jolly).
yuletide (n.) Look up yuletide at
late 15c., from yule + tide.
yum (interj.) Look up yum at
exclamation of pleasure, attested from 1878.
Yuma Look up Yuma at
native people of Arizona, also their language, of the Yuman family, the name probably is from O'odham (Piman) yu'mi and represents the name the Piman peoples applied to the Yuma people.
yummy Look up yummy at
"delicious," 1899, from baby talk. Yum-yum as an exclamation of pleasure is recorded from 1878.
yup Look up yup at
1906, variant of yes.
yuppie (n.) Look up yuppie at
1982, acronym from "young urban professional," ousting competition from yumpie (1984), from "young upward-mobile professional," and yap (1984), from "young aspiring professional." The word was felt as an insult by 1985.
yurt (n.) Look up yurt at
"house or hut of the natives of north and central Asia," 1784, ultimately from Russian yurta, from a Turkic language and originally meaning "home, dwelling."
YWCA (n.) Look up YWCA at
also Y.W.C.A., 1874, initialism (acronym) of Young Women's Christian Association.