Words That Start With Y: Your Scrabble Cheat Sheet

Everyone wants an extensive vocabulary. Whether you’re playing games (like Scrabble or Words with Friends) or spinning a yarn, knowing more words can always come in handy. Yearn for the eloquence of yesteryear? Say “yes” to words that start with Y. The letter Y may appear second-to-last in the English alphabet, but it comes first in many yawpings of yore! Just for yucks, if you’re looking to expand your vocabulary, begin by learning a few words that start with the letter Y

We’ve created this list of words for you, organized by the number of letters in each word. Many of these words have more than one meaning. For simplicity, we’ve only listed one definition for each word. Keep in mind, this word list doesn’t contain every single English word that starts with Y; however, it’s a useful introduction to this very special letter. 

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13-Letter Words

yachtsmanship – Noun | The ability to yacht

yesterevening – Noun | The previous evening

yestermorning – Noun | The previous morning

yuppification – Noun | The transformation of an area or neighborhood so that it appeals to affluent young professionals

12-Letter Words

yellowhammer – Noun | A yellow-shafted flicker, known for yellow feathers under the tail and wings

yellowjacket – Noun | Vespid wasps with yellow markings

yellowthroat – Noun | Yellow warblers, especially those with yellow breasts and throats

youthfulness – Noun | The quality of being youthful, vivacious, and lively

11-Letter Words

yachtswoman – Noun | A woman who owns or sails a yacht

yellowbelly – Noun | A coward

yersiniosis – Noun | Infectious disease caused by a bacteria of the genus Yersinia 

yoctosecond – One septillionth of a second

10-Letter Words

yarborough – Noun | A hand in bridge or whist with no card higher than nine

yesteryear – Noun | The recent past

yokefellow – Noun | A companion or mate

ypsiliform – Adjective | Y-shaped

9-Letter Words

yardstick – Noun | A three-foot measuring stick

yellowing – Verb | Becoming or turning yellow

yottabyte – Noun | One septillion bytes of computer storage

youngster – Noun | A child or youth

8-Letter Words

yachting – Noun | The act of racing or cruising in a yacht

yardland – Noun | Old English unit of land equivalent to about 30 acres

yarmulke – Noun | A skullcap worn by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish males (also spelled yamulka, yarmelke, or yamalka) 

yataghan – Noun | A short Turkish saber

yeanling – Noun | A lamb or kid

yearling – Noun | A one-year-old racehorse, counting from the January 1st after foaling

yeasayer – Noun | A person with an optimistic and affirmative outlook

yeomanly – Adjective | Bravely, sturdily 

yeomanry – Noun | British volunteer cavalry organized in 1761

yestreen – Noun | Yesterday evening (Scottish English) 

7-Letter Words

yakking – Verb | Chattering, talking (also spelled yacking) 

yanking – Verb | Pulling roughly with a jerking motion

yanquis – Noun | Citizens of the United States, rather than Central and South America (also spelled yankees)

yapping – Verb | Barking impatiently, yelping

yardage – Noun | A measurement expressed in yards

yardarm  – Noun | A nautical term for either portion of the yard of a square sail

yardman – Noun | Someone who works in a yard, especially as a railroad hand

yashmak – Noun | A veil worm by Muslim women that exposes only the eyes (also spelled yasmak or yashmac)

yauping – Verb | Complaining noisily (also spelled yawping) 

yawping – Noun | A harsh utterance

yealing – Someone with the same age as oneself (Scottish English, also spelled yeelin)

yeaning – Verb | Bringing forth young sheep or goats

yeggmen – Noun | Criminals, especially safecrackers

yeshiva – Noun | An Orthodox Jewish school for talmudic studies

yipping – Verb | Barking sharply

6-Letter Words

yabber – Noun | Talk, gibberish (Australian English) 

yakker – Noun | Work (Australian English, also spelled yakka or yacker) 

yakuza – Noun | A member of a Japanese criminal organization

yammer – Verb | To talk loudly and persistently

yapock – Noun | An aquatic opossum found in Central and South America (also spelled yapok) 

yarely –  Adverb | In a quick and nimble manner 

yarrow – Noun | A strong-scented plant of the genus Achillea

yatter – Noun | Chatter or idle talk

yauper – Noun | Someone who utters a harsh cry or squawk

yaupon – Noun | An evergreen holly of the Southeastern U.S. sometimes brewed as tea (also spelled yapon) 

yautia – Noun | An edible brown tuber, often prepared like a potato

yawing – Verb | An airplane or projectile turning about a vertical axis

yawner – Noun | Something that causes boredom, such as a performance

yclept – Verb | Called, named (also spelled ycleped)

yeaned – Verb | Brought forth young sheep or goats

yeasty – Adjective | Resembling or pertaining to yeast

yuppie – Noun | A young, urban professional with an affluent lifestyle

5-Letter Words

yager – Noun | A heavy, short-barreled rifle formerly used in the U.S. 

yahoo – Interjection | An expression of excitement

yamen – Noun | An official residence provided for Chinese officials in imperial China (also spelled yamun) 

yearn – Verb | To feel a strong desire and longing

yenta – Noun | A female gossip

yeuky – Adjective | Itchy (Scottish English)

yikes – Interjection | An expression of alarm

yobbo – Noun | A young hoodlum (British English) 

yodel – Verb | To sing in the style of Swiss and Tyrolean mountaineers, alternating between a natural voice and a falsetto

yokel – Noun | An unsophisticated inhabitant of a small town

yucca – Noun | Plants in the agave family of the genus Yucca, found in the U.S. and Latin America

yummy – Adjective | Delicious

4-Letter Words

yaff – Verb | To yelp (Scottish English)

yaud – Noun | An old mare (Scottish English)

yawl – Noun | A two-masted sailing vessel with a mainsail and one or more jib and with its mizzenmast aft of the sternpost

yawn – Verb | To involuntarily inhale or exhale a big breath, as from exhaustion or boredom

yeld – Adjective | Barren (Scottish English) 

yelk – Noun | Egg yolk (British English) 

yelp – Noun | A shrill bark or squeal

yerk – Verb | To beat, strike, or whip

yeti – Noun | Abominable snowman of the Himalayas

yett – Noun | Gate (Scottish English)

yill – Noun | Ale (Scottish English)

yipe – Verb | To cry out in fright or pain

yird – Noun | The earth (Scottish English) 

yirr – Verb | To snarl like a dog (Scottish English) 

ylem – Noun | A primordial substance from which all the matter in the universe developed, according to some theories

yogh – Noun | A letter in the Middle English alphabet

yowl – Verb | To howl or cry in distress

yuck – Interjection | An expression of disgust (also spelled yech or yecch)

yule – Noun | Christmas or Christmastime

3-Letter Words

yay – Interjection | An expression of celebration and enthusiasm 

yeh – Adverb | Affirmative, yes (also spelled yeah)

yew – Noun | An evergreen tree or shrub of the family Taxaceae

yuk – Noun | A loud laugh (also spelled yock and yuck) 

2-Letter Words

ye – Pronoun | You, the ones being addressed

yo – Interjection | Used to call someone’s attention

By looking at this list, you may be able to identify some interesting patterns. Words that start with the prefix “yocto” or “yotto” have to do with the number one septillion. Some of the words that start with “yellow” describe animals with yellow coloring: yellowjackets, yellowhammers, and yellowthroats. A number of one-syllable words that start with Y, such as yill, yett, yird, and yirr, are unique to Scottish English dialects. Understanding these linguistic patterns may help you intuit what a word means, even when you don’t have a dictionary handy.

Use words that start with the letter Y to yammer with youngsters or give yuletide greetings to yodelers at your yett. If you memorize this list, you’ll never yowl with confusion or look like an uneducated yokel. No word finder or crossword puzzle will make you feel yellow-bellied. From yo to yachtsmanship, you’ll be prepared with the right Y-word for any occasion.


  1. https://word.tips/words-start-with/y/
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/
  3. https://www.dictionary.com/
  4. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english
  5. https://www.yourdictionary.com/

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