AskDefine | Define yard

The Collaborative Dictionary

Yard \Yard\, n. [OE. yard, yerd, AS. geard; akin to OFries. garda garden, OS. gardo garden, gard yard, D. gaard garden, G. garten, OHG. garto garden, gari inclosure, Icel. gar[eth]r yard, house, Sw. g[*a]rd, Dan. gaard, Goth. gards a house, garda sheepfold, L. hortus garden, Gr. cho`rtos an inclosure. Cf. Court, Garden, Garth, Horticulture, Orchard.] [1913 Webster]
An inclosure; usually, a small inclosed place in front of, or around, a house or barn; as, a courtyard; a cowyard; a barnyard. [1913 Webster] A yard . . . inclosed all about with sticks In which she had a cock, hight chanticleer. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]
An inclosure within which any work or business is carried on; as, a dockyard; a shipyard. [1913 Webster] Liberty of the yard, a liberty, granted to persons imprisoned for debt, of walking in the yard, or within any other limits prescribed by law, on their giving bond not to go beyond those limits. Prison yard, an inclosure about a prison, or attached to it. Yard grass (Bot.), a low-growing grass (Eleusine Indica) having digitate spikes. It is common in dooryards, and like places, especially in the Southern United States. Called also crab grass. Yard of land. See Yardland. [1913 Webster]
Yard \Yard\, n. [OE. yerd, AS. gierd, gyrd, a rod, stick, a measure, a yard; akin to OFries. ierde, OS. gerda, D. garde, G. gerte, OHG. gartia, gerta, gart, Icel. gaddr a goad, sting, Goth. gazds, and probably to L. hasta a spear. Cf. Gad, n., Gird, n., Gride, v. i., Hastate.]
A rod; a stick; a staff. [Obs.] --P. Plowman. [1913 Webster] If men smote it with a yerde. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]
A branch; a twig. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The bitter frosts with the sleet and rain Destroyed hath the green in every yerd. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]
A long piece of timber, as a rafter, etc. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]
A measure of length, equaling three feet, or thirty-six inches, being the standard of English and American measure. [1913 Webster]
The penis. [1913 Webster]
(Naut.) A long piece of timber, nearly cylindrical, tapering toward the ends, and designed to support and extend a square sail. A yard is usually hung by the center to the mast. See Illust. of Ship. [1913 Webster]
(Zool.) A place where moose or deer herd together in winter for pasture, protection, etc. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Golden Yard, or Yard and Ell (Astron.), a popular name of the three stars in the belt of Orion. Under yard [i. e., under the rod], under contract. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]
Yard \Yard\, v. t. To confine (cattle) to the yard; to shut up, or keep, in a yard; as, to yard cows. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 a unit of length equal to 3 feet; defined as 91.44 centimeters; originally taken to be the average length of a stride [syn: pace]
2 the enclosed land around a house or other building; "it was a small house with almost no yard" [syn: grounds, curtilage]
3 a tract of land enclosed for particular activities (sometimes paved and usually associated with buildings); "they opened a repair yard on the edge of town"
4 an area having a network of railway tracks and sidings for storage and maintenance of cars and engines [syn: railway yard]
5 an enclosure for animals (as chicken or livestock)
6 a unit of volume (as for sand or gravel) [syn: cubic yard]
7 a long horizontal spar tapered at the end and used to support and spread a square sail or lateen
8 the cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100 [syn: thousand, one thousand, 1000, M, K, chiliad, G, grand, thou]

Moby Thesaurus

C, C-note, G, G-note, M, arena, armory, arsenal, assembly line, assembly plant, atomic energy plant, beleaguer, beset, besiege, bindery, blockade, boatyard, boilery, bookbindery, bound, box in, brewery, brickyard, buck, cage, cannery, cartwheel, cent, century, chamber, chiliad, chiliagon, chiliahedron, chiliarch, chiliarchia, cincture, close, close in, compass, confine, contain, container, coop, coop in, coop up, copper, cordon, cordon off, corral, court, courtyard, creamery, curtilage, dairy, defense plant, delimited field, dime, distillery, dockyard, dollar, dollar bill, encircle, enclave, enclose, enclosure, encompass, enshrine, factory, factory belt, factory district, feeder plant, fence in, field, fifty cents, fin, fish, five cents, five hundred dollars, five-dollar bill, five-hundred-dollar bill, five-spot, fiver, flour mill, fold, four bits, frogskin, grand, ground, half G, half a C, half dollar, half grand, hedge in, hem in, house in, hundred-dollar bill, impound, imprison, incarcerate, include, industrial park, industrial zone, iron man, jail, kennel, kilo, kilocycle, kilogram, kilohertz, kiloliter, kilometer, lakh, leaguer, list, main plant, manufactory, manufacturing plant, manufacturing quarter, mew, mew up, mill, millennium, millepede, milligram, milliliter, mint, munitions plant, myriad, nickel, oil refinery, one hundred thousand, packing house, pale, paling, park, pen, pen in, penny, plant, pocket, pottery, power plant, production line, push-button plant, quad, quadrangle, quarantine, quarter, rail in, red cent, refinery, sawbuck, sawmill, shipyard, shrine, shut in, shut up, silver dollar, skin, smacker, square, stable, subassembly plant, sugar refinery, surround, tannery, ten cents, ten thousand, ten-spot, tenner, theater, thou, thousand, thousand dollars, thousand-dollar bill, toft, twenty-dollar bill, twenty-five cents, two bits, two-dollar bill, two-spot, wall in, winery, wrap, yard up, yards



  • (UK): /jɑːd/, /jA:d
  • (US): , /jɑːrd/, /jA:rd

Etymology 1

ġeard, from Germanic *garda-, from Indo-European *gher- ‘enclosure’. Cognate with Dutch gaard, German Garten, Swedish gård. The Indo-European root is also the source of Latin hortus, ‘garden’, Russian город, ‘town’. Compare garden.


  1. A small, usually uncultivated area adjoining or (now especially) within the precincts of a house or other building.
  2. An enclosed area designated for a specific purpose, e.g. on farms, railways etc.
  3. (Jamaican) One’s house or home.


land around a house
  • Arabic: (hadíeqa)
  • Chinese: 院子 (yuànzi)
  • Dutch: erf
  • Finnish: piha
  • French: cour
  • German: Hof
  • Italian: cortile
  • Japanese: (にわ, niwa)
  • Korean: (tteur, tteul), 마당 (madang)
  • Portuguese: quintal, cercado, pátio
  • Romanian: yard
  • Russian: двор
  • Spanish: patio
  • Swedish: gård, trädgård, tomt
enclosed area for a specific purpose
Jamaican: one's house or home

Etymology 2

ġerd, from West Germanic. Cognate with Dutch gard ‘twig’, German Gerte.


  1. A long tapered timber hung on a mast to which is bent a sail, and may be further qualified as a square, lateen, or lug yard. The first is hung at right angles to the mast, the latter two hang obliquely.
  2. Any spar carried aloft.
  3. A staff, rod or stick.
  4. A unit of length equal to three feet (exactly 0.9144 metres in the US and UK).
  5. In the context of "US|slang}} One-hundred dollars.

Derived terms

A yard (abbreviation: yd) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. Its size can vary from system to system. The most commonly used yard today is the international yard which by definition is equal to 0.9144 metre.
The yard is used as the standard unit of field length measurement in both the American, English and Canadian games of football (although Canada has officially adopted the metric system).
The yard is used on road signs and markers in the UK. Indeed, it is illegal to display length/speed in metres/kilometres on road signs in the UK, as this would cause confusion.
A corresponding unit of area is the square yard.
Yard is also a slang word, used particularly in currency trading, for one billion units of a currency, e.g., a yard of dollars is $1bn, thus a buyer of a billion dollars could say "I'm a buyer of a yard of dollars."

Equivalence to other units of length

1 international yard is equal to:
  • 0.5 fathom (1 fathom is equal to 2 yards)
  • 3 feet (1 foot is a third of a yard)
  • 36 inches
  • 0.9144 metre (1 metre is equal to about 1.0936 international yards)
The early yard was divided by the binary method into two, four, eight, and sixteen parts called the half-yard, span, finger, and nail. Two yards are a fathom.

Historical origin

The yard derives its name from the word for a straight branch or rod, although the precise origin of the measure is not definitely known. Some believe it derived from the double cubit, or that it originated from cubic measure, others from its near equivalents, like the length of a stride or pace. One postulate was that the yard was derived from the girth of a person's waist, while another claim held that the measure was invented by Henry I of England as being the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb. These are believed to be more likely standardising events than a random invention of the measure.
In currency and financial market usage, "yard" derives from "milliard", a now rarely used term for 1,000,000,000.


See also

yard in Afrikaans: Jaart
yard in Arabic: يارد
yard in Asturian: Yarda
yard in Bulgarian: Ярд
yard in Catalan: Iarda
yard in Czech: Yard
yard in Danish: Yard
yard in German: Yard
yard in Spanish: Yarda
yard in Esperanto: Jardo
yard in Basque: Yarda
yard in French: Yard
yard in Galician: Iarda
yard in Korean: 야드
yard in Croatian: Jard
yard in Indonesian: Yard
yard in Italian: Iarda
yard in Kurdish: Yard
yard in Hungarian: Yard
yard in Macedonian: Јарда
yard in Malay (macrolanguage): Ela
yard in Dutch: Yard
yard in Japanese: ヤード
yard in Norwegian: Yard
yard in Uzbek: Yard
yard in Polish: Jard
yard in Portuguese: Jarda
yard in Russian: Ярд
yard in Albanian: Jardi
yard in Simple English: Yard (unit of length)
yard in Serbian: Јард
yard in Finnish: Jaardi
yard in Swedish: Yard
yard in Tamil: யார் (நீள அலகு)
yard in Thai: หลา
yard in Vietnamese: Yard
yard in Turkish: Yarda
yard in Ukrainian: Ярд
yard in Urdu: گز
yard in Walloon: Vedje canadyinne
yard in Chinese: 码
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