Word of the Day : January 23, 2012


noun YEG


: safecracker; also : robber

Did You Know?

"Safecracker" first appeared in print in English around 1825, but English speakers evidently felt that they needed a more colorful word for this rather colorful profession. No one is quite sure where "yegg" came from. It first appeared in the New York Evening Post on June 23, 1903, in an article about "the prompt breaking up of the organized gangs of professional beggars and yeggs." By 1905, it had acquired the variant "yeggmen," which was printed in the New York Times in reference to unsavory characters captured in the Bowery District. "Yegg" has always been, and continues to be, less common than "safecracker," but it still turns up once in a while.


"The cops grabbed him and another yegg for a Philadelphia store burglary." -- From the James Lardner and Thomas Reppetto book, NYPD: A City and Its Police, 2001

"According to police the yeggs, apparently knowing exactly where the money was, punched a six-inch hole in the corner of the safe." -- From an article in the Eastern Express Times, November 26, 2011

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