Yüan Shih-k'ai, or Yuan Shikai (1859–1916), Chinese soldier and president of China (1912–16).
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Yap Islands to Zworykin, Vladimir Kosma
Yap Islands, in the western Pacific Ocean, part of the Caroline Islands, consisting of 4 large and 10 small islands, surrounded by a coral reef.
Yaqui, tribe of Native Americans living in Sonora, northern Mexico, and in Arizona and California.
Yawning, involuntary gaping of the mouth, often accompanied by involuntary stretching of the muscles and accompanied by a deep inspiration.
Yaws, disease caused by an organism related to that which causes syphilis.
Yazoo Fraud, 1795 scandal in which the Georgia state legislature was bribed to sell 35 million acres (14.2 million hectares) of land along the Yazoo River to 4 land companies.
Yazoo River, tributary of the Mississippi River, in the state of Mississippi.
Yeager, Chuck (Charles Elwood Yeager; 1923– ), U.S. fighter pilot in World War II, test pilot, first person to fly faster than the speed of sound (Oct. 14, 1947).
Year, name of various units of time, all depending on the revolution of the earth about the sun.
Yeast, any of single-celled plants classified with the fungi.
Yeats, William Butler (1865–1939), Irish poet and dramatist, leader of the Celtic Renaissance in Ireland and one of the world's greatest lyric poets.
Yeh Chien-Ying, or Ye Jianying (1899–1985), Chinese minister of defense (1971–78).
Yellow See: Color.
Yellow daisy See: Black-eyed Susan.
Yellow-dog contract, pledge signed by prospective employees that they will not join a union.
Yellow fever, infectious disease caused by a virus carried by mosquitos of the genus Aëdes and occurring in tropical Americas and Africa.
Yellow jacket, one of a genus (Vespula) of hornets, social wasps of the family Vespidae, common in North America.
Yellow journalism, vulgar and sensational newspaper reporting whose sole aim is to attract readers.
Yellow poplar, or tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), tall hardwood tree of the magnolia family, native to eastern North America.
Yellow River, or Hwang Ho, river of northern China, flowing 2,903 mi (4,672 km) from the Kunlun Mountains, generally east to the Yellow Sea.
Yellow Sea, or Huang Hai, western arm of the Pacific Ocean between Korea and northeast China.
Yellowhammer, or yellow-shafted flicker (Colaptes auratus auratus), bird of the woodpecker family, subspecies of the common flicker, native to North America; also, the yellow bunting (German: Ammer, “bunting”; Emberiza citrinella), finch of Europe and Asia.
Yellowknife (pop. 11,800), capital and largest city of Northwest Territories, in north-central Canada, on Yellowknife Bay of Great Slave Lake.
Yellowlegs (genus Tringa), migrating shore bird of the sandpiper family, native to the Western Hemisphere and identified by dark wings, white belly and tail, and long yellow legs.
Yellowstone National Park, oldest and largest U.S. national park, created in 1872 and covering 3,472 sq mi (8,992 sq km), mostly in northwestern Wyoming.
Yellowstone River, river flowing 671 mi (1,080 km) from northwestern Wyoming north and east through Montana to join the Missouri River at the North Dakota state line.
Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), small, migratory bird of the wood warbler family native to North America.
Yeltsin, Boris Nikolayevich, (1931– ), president of the Russian Federation (1990– ).
Yemen, officially the Republic of Yemen, formerly divided into Yemen (Sana), also known as North Yemen, and Yemen (Aden), also known as South Yemen, now united into a single republic occupying the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula and including the islands of Kamaran, Perim, and Socotra. With a combined area of 207,232 sq mi (536,870 sq km), Yemen is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north a…
Yenisey River, major river of Siberia, flowing 2,500 mi (4,000 km) from the Sayan Mountains west and north to the Kara Sea (Arctic Ocean).
Yeoman, Middle English word denoting a king's or nobleman's retainer or officer, or a freehold farmer cultivating his own land, ranking below the gentry.
Yerevan, or Erevan (pop. 1,202,000), capital city of Armenia, on the Razdan River, in southeastern Europe, near Turkey.
Yerkes Observatory, observatory of the University of Chicago.
Yevtushenko, Yevgeny (1933– ), Russian poet who became a spokesperson for “liberal” forces in Soviet literature in the early 1960s.
Yew, any of several species of evergreen trees and shrubs of genus Taxus native to the Northern Hemisphere.
Yiddish, language spoken by Jewish people, developed during the A.D. 900s and 1000s.
Yiddish literature, body of written works that developed in the late 1200s and remained strongly connected to Jewish religious tradition until the 1800s, when modern Jewish literature had its beginnings through a cultural literary movement called the Haskalah (Enlightenment). The humorist Solomon Rabinowitz, who wrote under the name Sholom Aleichem, Shalom Jacob Abramovich, whose pen name was Mend…
Yin and yang, two principles in Chinese philosophy, representing the passive and the active forces of the universe.
YMCA See: Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
Yoga (Sanskrit, “union”), forms of spiritual discipline practiced in Buddhism and Hinduism.
Yogurt, or yoghurt, semisolid, cultured milk food made by inoculating pasteurized milk with a culture of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus and incubating until the desired acidity is achieved.
Yokohama (pop. 2,250,500), city in Japan on the western shore of Tokyo Bay, a leading national seaport and part of Tokyo's industrial belt in southern Honshu Island.
Yom Kippur, Jewish Day of Atonement, the most sacred day in the Jewish religious calendar.
Yonkers (pop. 195,351), city in southeastern New York State just north of New York City, between the Bronx and Hudson rivers.
York (pop. 107,700), city in northern England.
York, ruling dynasty of England (1461–85), a branch of the Plantagenet family, whose symbol was the white rose.
Yorkshire terrier, breed of toy dog developed in Yorkshire and Lancashire, England, in the mid-19th century to hunt rats.
Yorktown (pop. 450), town in southeastern Virginia, seat of York County, on the York River, and site of the last campaign of the Revolutionary War.
Yorktown, Battle of See: Revolutionary War in America.
Yoruba, African people in southwest Nigeria, characteristically urban dwellers.
Yosemite Falls, North America's highest waterfalls, in Yosemite National Park, central California.
Yosemite National Park, national park in eastern California, established in 1890, 1,189 sq mi (3,000 sq km) of spectacular mountain scenery formed during the last glacial period, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
Youmans, Vincent (1898–1946), U.S. composer of popular musical comedies of the 1920s, among them No, No, Nanette and Hit the Deck.
Young, Andrew Jackson, Jr. (1932– ), U.S. clergyman and civil rights leader.
Young, Brigham (1801–77), U.S.
Young, Cy (Denton True Young; 1867–1955), U.S. baseball player.
Young, John Watts (1930– ), U.S. astronaut.
Young, Lester Willis (1909–59), U.S. tenor saxophonist, one of the most influential jazz musicians.
Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), worldwide organization that seeks, through programs of sport, religious and current-affairs study groups, and summer camps, to promote a healthy way of life based on Christian ideals.
Young, Owen D. (1874–1962), U.S. lawyer, industrial executive, and diplomat.
Young, Whitney Moore, Jr. (1921–71), U.S. civil rights leader.
Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), international organization that promotes a Christian way of life through educational and recreational activities and social work.
Youngstown (pop. 115,436), city in northeastern Ohio, seat of Mahoning County, located on the Mahoning River near Pennsylvania.
Yourcenar, Marguerite (1903–87), pen name of Marguerite de Crayencour, Belgian-born French author who became a U.S. citizen in the 1940s.
Youth hostel, inexpensive, supervised overnight lodging, particularly for young people but generally accommodating all members of such hosteling organizations as the International Youth Hostel Federation and the American Youth Hostels.
Ypres (Flemish, “leper”; pop. 34,800), city in West Flanders, western Belgium, on the Yperlee River.
Ytterbium, chemical element, symbol Yb; for physical constants, see Periodic Table.
Yttrium, chemical element, symbol Y; for physical constants, see Periodic Table.
Yucatán Peninsula, peninsula (c.70,000 sq mi/c.181,200 sq km) dividing the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea.
Yucca, genus of plants of the Lily family found in desert regions of Mexico and the southwestern United States.
Yugoslavia, Until 1991 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, republic with six constituent republics: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro. Yugoslavia was made up of four geographical areas. A mostly mountainous country, it has an Alpine region in the nortwest, but also fertile northern plains. The south rugged mountainous region and there is also the…
Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of, independent country in southeastern Europe, bordered by Croatiaon the west and the north, Bosnia Hercegovina on the west, Hungary on the north, Romania and Bulgaria on the east, and Macedonia and Albania in the south. The Federal Republic consists of Montenegro in the south and the dominant republic Serbia in the north. Serbia's landscape is varied, with fer…
Yukawa, Hideki (1907–81), Japanese physicist who postulated the meson as the agent bonding the atomic nucleus.
Yukon River, sixth-longest river in North America, flowing from northern British Columbia for 1,979 mi (3,185 km) through Yukon Territory into Alaska, then southwest to the Norton Sound on the Bering Sea.
Yukon Territory, subarctic territory in northwestern Canada. Covering 207,076 sq mi (536,327 sq km), the Yukon is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Northwest Territories to the east, British Columbia and Alaska to the south, and Alaska to the west. The mountainous Yukon Territory includes the Rocky Mountains and, in the southwest, the St. Elias Range. The latter includes Canada'…
Yuma (pop. 106,895), city in southwestern Arizona, seat of Yuma County, situated on the Colorado River at the mouth of the Gila River.
Yurok, Native Americans who lived along the Klamath River and in nearby coastal aresa of nortwestn California.
YWCA See: Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA).
Z, 26th and last letter of the English alphabet, corresponding to the ancient Semitic letter zayin, meaning “weapon.” The Greeks adopted the familiar z form for zeta, the sixth letter of their alphabet.
Zuñi, Native Americans of the Zuñian linguistic stock, in New Mexico.
Zürich (pop. 343,100), city in northern Switzerland, capital of Zürich canton, and the nation's financial and education center.
Zaïre, formerly the Belgian Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, officially Zaïre since 1971, nation in west-central Africa. With an area of 905,446 sq mi (2,345,095 sq km), Zaïre is bordered by Angola on the southwest; the Congo Republic on the west; the Central African Republic and Sudan on the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania on the east; and Zambia o…
Zadkine, Ossip (1890–1967), Russian-born French sculptor.
Zagreb (pop. 706,800), capital of the republic of Croatia.
Zaharias, Babe Didrikson (1913–1956), U.S. athlete.
Zambezi River, river in southeast Africa, fourth-largest in Africa.
Zambia, formerly Northern Rhodesia, officially the Republic of Zambia, independent republic in south-central Africa. With an area of 290,584 sq mi (752,614 sq km), Zambia is bordered by Zaïre on the north; Tanzania on the northeast; Malawi and Mozambique on the east; Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia on the south; and Angola on the west. The country occupies a mostly flat plateau some 3,000 t…
Zamboanga (pop. 343,722), Philippine city on the extreme western tip of Mindanao Island, capital of Zamboanga del Sur Province.
Zane, Ebenezer (1747–1812), American pioneer.
Zanuck, Darryl F. (1902–79), U.S. film producer.
Zanzibar, island, part of Tanzania, off eastern Africa.
Zapata, Emiliano (1879?–1919), Mexican revolutionary whose chief ambition was to return Mexican land to the native population.
Zapotec, ancient native people of southeast Oaxaca, Mexico, and their descendants.
Zarathustra See: Zoroastrianism.
Zealots, Jewish religious and political fanatics in Palestine about the time of Jesus.
Zebra, 3 species of striped horses (genus Equus) of Africa.
Zebu, or Brahman ox (Bos indicus), ox found in India, Africa, and Asia.
Zebulun, one of the 12 tribes of Israel and one of the 10 lost tribes removed from Palestine by the conquering Assyrians (721 B.C.) and dispersed.
Zechariah, Book of, Old Testament book named for 1 of the 12 minor prophets.
Zeeman effect, changes in the energy levels of atoms that may be observed by the splitting of spectral lines when a light source is placed in a magnetic field.
Zeiss, Carl (1816–88), German optical manufacturer who founded a famous workshop at Jena in 1846.
Zen (Chinese: Ch'an, meaning “meditation”), form of Buddhism that developed in China from c.500 A.D. and spread to Japan, exerting great influence on Japanese culture.
Zenger, John Peter (1697–1745), colonial publisher and journalist whose trial for libel (1735) furthered freedom of the press.
Zenith, in astronomy, point on the celestial sphere directly above an observer and exactly 90° from the celestial horizon.
Zeno of Citium (335?–265? B.C.), Cypriot philosopher who founded the Stoic school of philosophy in Athens (301 B.C.).
Zeno of Elea (490?–430 B.C.), Greek philosopher who studied under Parmenides and defended his teacher's theories.
Zephaniah, Book of, Old Testament book written c.640–630 B.C. during the reign of Josiah (638–608 B.C.) and after the Scythian invasion of Palestine.
Zeppelin See: Airship.
Zeppelin, Ferdinand von (1838–1917), German aeronautical engineer who designed and built almost 100 powered balloons.
Zero-base budgeting (ZBB), annual economic planning that justifies expenditure on actual cost or need rather than on increments of the previous year's budget.
Zero population growth, close approximation in numbers of births and deaths needed to stabilize a nation's population and prevent annual increases.
Zeus, supreme god of Greek mythology.
Zhao Ziyang (1919– ), premier of China (1980–87), successor to Hua Kuo-feng (Hua Guofeng).
Zhou dynasty (also Chou), China's third and longest-ruling (1122 B.C.–256 B.C.) royal house.
Zhou Enlai, or Chou En Lai (1898–1976), Chinese Communist leader, premier and foreign minister of China (1949–59).
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu or Chuang-Tzo; 377?–286 B.C.), Chinese scholar and Taoist philosopher, to whom the book Zhuangzi, the first Chinese book dealing only with spiritual matters, is attributed.
Zhukov, Georgi Konstantinovich (1896–1974), Soviet general, hero of the battles at Stalingrad (1943) and Berlin (1945).
Ziegfeld, Florenz (1869–1932), U.S. theatrical producer.
Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia under the British, and Rhodesia under Ian Smith, a landlocked republic in south central Africa. With an area of 150,873 sq mi (390,759 sq km), Zimbabwe is bordered by Zambia to the north, Mozambique to the northeast and east, and Botswana to the southwest and west. Zimbabwe is situated astride a high plateau between the Zamb…
Zimbalist, Efrem (1889–1985), Russian-born U.S. virtuoso violinist.
Zinc, chemical element, symbol Zn; for physical constants, see Periodic Table.
Zinjanthropus, humanlike creature that probably lived about 1,750,000 years ago.
Zinneman, Fred (1907–97), film director and winner of Academy Awards for That Mothers Might live (1938), From Here to Eternity (1953), and A Man for All Seasons (1966).
Zion, in the Old Testament, ancient citadel of David, on the southeast hill of Jerusalem.
Zion National Park, established in 1919 and covering 147,035 acres (59,528 hectares) in southwest Utah.
Zionism, movement to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine.
ZIP Code, acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, a 5-digit code implemented (1963) to speed sorting and delivery of domestic mail.
Zircon, silicate mineral, zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4), used chiefly as a gemstone and as the main source of the metals zirconium and hafnium, in industry and research.
Zirconium, chemical element, symbol Zr; for physical constants, see Periodic Table.
Zodiac, band of the heavens whose outer limits lie 9° on each side of the ecliptic.
Zodiacal light, faint cone of light visible in the night sky just before dawn or after sunset.
Zog (Ahmedi Bey Zogu; 1895–1961), king of Albania (1928–46).
Zola, Émile (1840–1902), French novelist and founder of naturalism.
Zoogeography, study of the geographical distribution of animal species and populations.
Zoology, scientific study of animal life.
Zoroastrianism, Persian religion based on the teachings of Zoroaster (Greek form of Zarathustra), a sage who lived in the 6th century B.C.
Zukerman, Pinchas (1948– ), Israeli-born violinist, violist, and conductor who came to New York (1962) as a protégé of Isaac Stern.
Zulu, South African Bantu people who settled what is now Natal Province early in the 17th century.
Zululand former semi-autonomous homeland in Natal, South Africa.
Zweig, Arnold (1887–1968), German novelist.
Zweig, Stefan (1881–1942), Austrian biographer and novelist.
Zwicky, Fritz (1898–1974), Swiss-born U.S. astronomer and astrophysicist best known for his studies of supernovas, which he showed to be quite distinct from, and much rarer than, novas.
Zworykin, Vladimir Kosma (1889–1982), Russian-born U.S. electronic engineer regarded as the father of modern television: His kinescope (patented 1924), little adapted, is our modern picture tube; and his iconoscope, though now obsolete, represents the basis of the first practical television camera.