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one that breaks open safes to steal : safecracker
; also : robber
"Last Friday night while Sonoma peacefully slept a gang of yeggs
, evidently professionals for they wore gloves to conceal all fingerprints, hammered away at the big safe of the Napa Milling Company, broke it open and escaped with $153 in cash, an account book and checks totaling $215." — The Sonoma (California) Index-Tribune
, 6 Sept. 1935
"The cops grabbed him and another yegg
for a Philadelphia store burglary." — James Lardner and Thomas Reppetto, NYPD: A City and Its Police
Did you know?
first appeared in print in English around 1873, but English speakers evidently felt that they needed a more colorful word for this rather colorful profession. No one is quite sure where yegg
came from. Its earliest known use in print is from a 1901 New York Times
article. This same article also includes the first known print use of the variant yeggmen
has always been less common than safecracker
, but it still turns up once in a while.