Pronunciation | Vocabulary | English in Use | Listenings


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English in Use

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The word yacht is a difficult word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what yacht means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary which is associated with yachts such as boat, craft, cruise, engine, luxury, manage, own, sail, sailing, ship, and trip. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these words associated with yacht.

From the OED:

yacht, n. (jɒt) 

Forms: 6 yeagh, 7 yoath, yolke ?, yaugh, yuaght, yought, y(e)aught, (Sc. z(e)aught, with z for ȝ), yaucht, jacht, yach, (yacth), yat, yott, 7–9 yatcht, yatch (pl. 7–8 yatchs, 8 yatches), 7– yacht. 

[ad. early mod.Du. jaght(e (now jacht) = jaghtschip (lit. ship for chasing), light sailing vessels, fast piratical ship, f. jag(h)t hunting, chase (= G. jagd), f. jagen to hunt, chase (see -t suffix3 a). Owing to the presence in the Du. word of the unfamiliar guttural spirant denoted by g(h), the English spellings have been various and erratic; how far they represent varieties of pronunciation it is difficult to say. That a pronunciation (jɔtʃ) or (jatʃ), denoted by yatch, once existed seems to be indicated by the plural yatches; it may have been suggested by catch, ketch. 

   The word has been adopted in many European languages: F. yacht (jak), G. jacht-, yacht(schiff), Da. jagt, MSw. jackt (15th c.), Icel., Sw. jakt, Sp. yacte, yate, yac, Pg. hiate, Russ. yakta.] 

a.a A light fast-sailing ship, in early use esp. for the conveyance of royal or other important persons; later, a vessel, usually light and comparatively small, propelled by motive power other than oars, and used for pleasure excursions, cruising, etc., and now esp. one built and rigged for racing. 

   1557 Voy. Stephan Burrough in Hakluyt Voy. (1598) I. 294 A barke which was of Dronton, and three or foure Norway yeaghes, belonging to Northberne.    1613 P. Pett Autobiogr. (Navy Rec. Soc. 1918) 109 [We anchored thwart of Sluis, where came on board us with his] yoathes [the Prince of Orange].    1616 R. Cocks Diary (Hakl. Soc.) I. 118, I esteemed he came to spie‥whether our shipp and the Duch yaught staid for to take the Amacon shipp.    1621 in Foster Eng. Factories Ind. (1906) 303 This smalle shippe or yolke is mostly ladne with pepper.    1630 R. Johnson's Kingd. & Commw. 40 The Emperour (who yet had never greater vessell than a Punt or Yaugh upon the Danuby).    1645 in Sussex Archæol. Coll. XLVIII. 129 Paid for tow and nails used aboute my Lords Yought at Pemsie.    Ibid., To unrig my Lord's Yaught.    1660 Sir W. Lower Voy. Chas. II, 12 Jachts or pinnaces.    1664 in Maitl. Club Misc. (1840) II. 518 To the sailors whair his Lordship breakfast in the Zeaught 001 10 00. To the sailleris of the Zaught at Owlage 003 12 00.    1666 in 10th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. v. 10 Gunner of his Majestie's vessell the Mary yaucht.    1673 H. Stubbe Further Justif. War Neth. 5 They who had struck their Flags‥unto a Ketch of two Guns in the time of Cromwel, refuse to do it unto a Yacht of his Majesties.    1678 R. Ferrier Jrnl. 25 in Camden Misc. (1895) IX, A fair small River which ye King has there cut to take his pleasure on, there being severall yotts.    1680 Alsop Mischief Impos. vi. 36 A‥Man of War as big as 2 or 3 Yatchs.    1688 in Boys Sandwich (1792) 759 About 20 small smacks and yats in the Downs.    a 1700 Evelyn Diary 1 Oct. 1661, I sailed this morning with his Majesty in one of his Yatchts (or pleasure boats), vessels not known among us till the Dutch East India Company presented that curious piece to the King.    1710 J. Harris Lex. Techn. II, Yatches, are Vessels with one Deck carrying from 4 to 12 Guns, with from 20 to 40 Men; and are of Burden from 30 to 160 Tun.    1766 Ann. Reg., Chron. 137/1 Admiral Keppel set out for Harwich, to take the command of the yatchs intended to carry over her R. Highness the Princess Carolina Matilda to Holland.    1769 Falconer Dict. Marine (1780) s.v., The royal yachts are commonly rigged as ketches, except the principal one reserved for the sovereign, which is equipped with three masts like a ship.    1790 H. Walpole Let. to Miss Mary Berry 10 July, The river was covered with little yatches and boats.    1811 Self Instructor 587 The Dutch yatchts are chiefly used on their rivers and canals.    1839 Darwin Voy. Nat. xxiii. 602 A yacht now with every luxury of life can circumnavigate the globe.

b.b attrib. and Comb., as yacht-berth, yacht-builder, yacht-building, yacht-club, yacht marina, yacht-race, yacht-racing, yacht-sailing, yacht-sailor, yacht-squadron; yacht basin, a dock constructed for the mooring of yachts; a marina; yacht broker, a dealer in yachts; so yacht brokerage; yacht-yard, a yard where yachts are built or repaired. 

   1929 Motorboat 10 Mar. 20/1 For many years there has been much talk of public *yacht basins.    1952 P. Atkey Juniper Rock i. 2 An engine breakdown‥had compelled Roy to take the Marsouin limping into the yacht basin at Marseilles.    1981 L. Deighton XPD xii. 102 One of the parking places near the yacht basin.

   1846 Mrs. Gore Engl. Char. (1852) 46 Insensible to the perils of any uneasy *yacht-berth.

   1882 Yachting Q. July (Advt.), Cox and King, *Yacht brokers & Yachting auctioneers.    1982 N. J. Crisp Brink ix. 187 The yacht brokers were still in business.‥ The pubs were still full of yachting types.

   1974 J. Dimona Last Man at Arlington i. 51 In Nassau‥he had managed to set up a profitable *yacht brokerage.

   1868 Trollope's Brit. Sports 195 The Swedes are skilful *yacht-builders.

   Ibid. 217 The progressive improvement in *yacht-building during the last twenty years.

   1834 G. Crabbe Jr. in Poet. Wks. G. Crabbe I. 13 A party of amateur sailors was formed—the *yacht club of Aldborough.    1837 in Yachting (Badm. Libr.) II. 12 That the Commodore be requested to seek an‥audience with Her Majesty, with a view to the continuance of the Royal Cup to be presented to the Yacht Club at Cowes.    1981 L. Deighton XPD xii. 101 The Marina del Rey‥has the swanky yacht club as a centre-piece.

   1973 ‘A. York’ Captivator ii. 32 The ah, sloop put into Cuxhaven.‥ It entered the *yacht marina there, secured a berth.    1983 P. Ferris Distant Country ii. 15 The yacht marina‥would reopen with brand-new quays and pontoons.

   1867 Dickens Lett. (1880) II. 271 The American *yacht race is the last sensation.

   1868 Trollope's Brit. Sports 196 We do not mean to say that *yacht-racing has wholly escaped those sharp practices.

   1833 W. H. Maxwell Field Bk. Introd., *Yacht-sailing has been slightly noticed.

   1856 Marett Yachts and Yacht Bldg. Introd. p. ix, The designer [of a yacht] should‥be‥an experienced *yacht sailor.

   Ibid. 74 For many years after the establishment of the Royal *Yacht Squadron.

   1933 ‘L. Luard’ All Hands 236 The proprietor of a *yacht-yard.    1980 P. Moyes Angel Death xx. 248 We have to get down there‥to the yacht yard. There's something wrong.

Hence (nonce-wds.) ˈyachtdom, ˈyachtery, yachts collectively; ˈyachtian, ˈyachtist, a yachtsman; ˈyachtling, a little yacht; ˈyachty a., pertaining to or characteristic of a yacht. 

   1901 Pall Mall Gaz. 12 Jan. 1/3 A yacht for her Majesty that would eclipse all examples in modern *yachtdom for luxurious comfort and sea-going qualities.

   1861 J. G. Francis Beach Rambles 60 The flower of the *yachtery of England.

   1842 Blackw. Mag. LI. 419 The assembled Thames *yachtians.

   1895 Nat. Observer 21 Sept. 542 They went the way all *yachtists go.

   1872 Daily News 21 Aug., The tiny *yachtlings (the largest of them measures but 10 tons, the smallest but four or five).

   1892 Field 27 Feb. 279/2 The latest craft on the stocks—though of size that might be called ‘*yachty’—is‥thoroughly of the canoe family.

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