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[yeg] /yɛg/
noun, Slang.
a safecracker.
an itinerant burglar.
a thug.
Origin of yegg
1925-30, Americanism; of obscure origin; the proposals that the word is < German Jäger “hunter” or that it is the surname of a well-known safecracker are both very dubious Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for yegg
Historical Examples
  • A jeweler by trade, he fell from his high estate and went on the road as a yegg.

    Blacksheep! Blacksheep! Meredith Nicholson
  • Joe caught Boston Frank's eye and forthwith pushed himself alongside the yegg.

    The Trail of the Tramp A-No. 1 (AKA Leon Ray Livingston)
  • He duly canvassed every likely dive, every “melina,” every gambling house and yegg hang out.

    The Shadow Arthur Stringer
  • And look here: don't you get the notion in your bean I'm just some little old two-by-four guy of a yegg or some poor nut of a dip.

  • He duly canvassed every likely dive, every "melina," every gambling house and yegg hang out.

    Never-Fail Blake

    Arthur Stringer
  • An American yegg would have laughed at it, opened 73 it as easily as a ripe peach; but in this district it was absolute security.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • There was a yegg of some kind scouting around Nora's house; and the same lad also took some observations of the place at Stanwick.

    Ashton-Kirk, Criminologist John T. McIntyre
  • At the moment the missile flew from Peter's hand, the yegg steadied himself and fired.

British Dictionary definitions for yegg


(slang, mainly US) a burglar or safe-breaker
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from the surname of a burglar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yegg

"thief, burglar," especially "safecracker," 1903, underworld slang, of unknown origin, said to be from John Yegg, a Swedish tramp, or from German Jäger "huntsman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for yegg



A thief or burglar, esp an itinerant thief or safecracker

[1903+ Underworld; origin unknown; said to be fr the name of John Yegg, a Swedish tramp and safebreaker; perhaps fr German Jager, ''huntsman,'' applied to a safecracker's advance scouts, but originally yeggman]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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