- ever; always.
Origin of ay1
1150–1200; Middle English ei, ai < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse ei, cognate with Old English ā ever
- (used to express regret or sorrow.)
Origin of ay2
Middle English word dating back to 1300–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ay
“Ay, ay,” said Tibble, regarding him with a well-pleased face.
“Ay, sure, both of us; but Ambrose is the best scribe,” said Stephen.
Tis none other that the Dean sets forth, ay, and the book that I have here.
“Ay, where the Frenchmen live that calender worsted,” returned Giles.
I gave it—ay, I gave it to a youth that came to mine aid, and reclaimed a falcon for me!
- archaic, poetic ever; always
C12 ai, from Old Norse ei; related to Old English ā always, Latin aevum an age, Greek aiōn
- archaic, poetic an expression of misery or surprise
C14 ey: from an involuntary cry of surprise
- a variant spelling of aye 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for ay
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper