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noun Slang.
  1. a safecracker.
  2. an itinerant burglar.
  3. a thug.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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

British Dictionary definitions for yegg


  1. slang, mainly US a burglar or safe-breaker
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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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper