Words for the Week: Y


Nearly there, folks! Welcome to the penultimate episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘Y’. 

Yaffle (verb): To eat and drink, especially noisily and greedily. (Noun): The green woodpecker.

My theory is that the green woodpecker got a nickname first, and then people likened noisy eating to the sound it makes. I have absolutely no proof to back that up, but I’m going with it. 

Yaw (noun): The rotational movement or oscillation of an aircraft or spacecraft about a vertical axis.

Firstly, good sound word for another thing that isn’t really a sound. But mostly, this one’s in here for my buddy and space nerd, Romilly. Planes make me think of her. 

Yonderly (adjective): Cheshire, Cumberland, Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire. Vague, absent-minded, weak in mind or body, anxious, depressed in health or spirits. 

Wow, this is not a word that pulls punches, is it? I do like the implication that if you feel this way, there’s something gone astray – over yonder, as it were. 

Yark (noun): Herefordshire. Hoar frost.

Frost is nearly water, right? I like the sharpness of yark. It sounds right. 

Yapness (noun): Hunger. 

I really like this word – it’s the noise people make when they’re hungry! You know when you get kind of snappy and disagreeable and then someone shoves a shortbread finger at you and suddenly you’re fine? This word is that!

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal; The Phrontistery.

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