: a small ship used for pleasure cruising or racing
Word History of YACHT
In the 1500s the Dutch developed a kind of fast-moving sailing ship for use in coastal waters and river mouths. These vessels were called by the name jaght, short for jachtschip or jageschip in Dutch and German dialects—literally, “hunting ship” or “pursuit ship.” The word was soon borrowed into English as yoath or yaught. The spelling jacht or yacht became widespread after 1660, when the English king Charles II was given such a boat, dubbed the Mary, by the Dutch East India Company. The king chose to use the boat for excursions and racing, and the word yacht became attached to other vessels used for the same purposes.