a vessel used for private cruising, racing, or other noncommercial purposes.
verb (used without object)
to sail, voyage, or race in a yacht.

1550–60; < early Dutch jaght, short for jaghtschip hunting ship, equivalent to Dutch jacht hunt (derivative of jagen to hunt) + schip ship

yachty, adjective
superyacht, noun

barge, boat, canoe, cruise ship, sailboat, ship, yacht.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yacht (jɒt)
1.  a vessel propelled by sail or power, used esp for pleasure cruising, racing, etc
2.  sand yacht short for ice yacht
3.  (intr) to sail or cruise in a yacht
[C16: from obsolete Dutch jaghte, short for jahtschip, from jagen to chase + schipship]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1557, yeaghe "a light, fast-sailing ship," probably from Norw. jaght, from M.L.G. jacht, shortened form of jachtschip "fast pirate ship," lit. "ship for chasing," from jacht "chase," from jagen "to chase, hunt," from O.H.G. jagon, from P.Gmc. *jagojanan.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
To entice yacht owners and their entourages to stay longer, they are also
  building luxury condominiums and five-star hotels.
If you are thinking luxury yacht and warm-weather location, think again.
If you want excitement, you want yacht racing, not fishing.
No vessel seems safe, be it a supertanker or a private yacht.
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