Did You Know?
Safecracker first appeared in print in English around 1873, 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. Its earliest known use in print is from a 1901 New York Times article. This same article also includes the first known print use of the variant yeggmen. Yegg has always been less common than safecracker, but it still turns up once in a while.
"Last Friday night while Sonoma peacefully slept a gang of yeggs, evidently professionals for they wore gloves to conceal all fingerprints, hammered away at the big safe of the Napa Milling Company, broke it open and escaped with $153 in cash, an account book and checks totaling $215." — The Sonoma (California) Index-Tribune, 6 Sept. 1935
"The cops grabbed him and another yegg for a Philadelphia store burglary." — James Lardner and Thomas Reppetto, NYPD: A City and Its Police, 2000
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Unscramble the letters to create a word for a criminal who robs pedestrians: TDOAFPO.VIEW THE ANSWER
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