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editorial we

we (def 6).


[wee] /wi/
plural pronoun, possessive our or ours, objective us.
nominative plural of I.
(used to denote oneself and another or others):
We have two children. In this block we all own our own houses.
(used to denote people in general):
the marvels of science that we take for granted.
(used to indicate a particular profession, nationality, political party, etc., that includes the speaker or writer):
We in the medical profession have moral responsibilities.
Also called the royal we. (used by a sovereign, or by other high officials and dignitaries, in place of I in formal speech):
We do not wear this crown without humility.
Also called the editorial we. (used by editors, writers, etc., to avoid the too personal or specific I or to represent a collective viewpoint):
As for this column, we will have nothing to do with shady politicians.
you (used familiarly, often with mild condescension or sarcasm, as in addressing a child, a patient, etc.):
We know that's naughty, don't we? It's time we took our medicine.
(used in the predicate following a copulative verb):
It is we who should thank you.
(used in apposition with a noun, especially for emphasis):
We Americans are a sturdy lot.
Origin of we
before 900; Middle English, Old English wē; cognate with Dutch wij, German wir, Old Norse vēr, Gothic weis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for editorial-we


pronoun (subjective)
refers to the speaker or writer and another person or other people: we should go now
refers to all people or people in general: the planet on which we live
  1. when used by editors or other writers, and formerly by monarchs, a formal word for I1
  2. (as noun): he uses the royal we in his pompous moods
(informal) used instead of you with a tone of persuasiveness, condescension, or sarcasm: how are we today?
Word Origin
Old English wē, related to Old Saxon wī, Old High German wir, Old Norse vēr, Danish, Swedish vi, Sanskrit vayam
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
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Word Origin and History for editorial-we



Old English we, from Proto-Germanic *wiz (cf. Old Saxon wi, Old Norse ver, Danish vi, Old Frisian wi, Dutch wij, Old High German and German wir, Gothic weis "we"), from PIE *wei- (cf. Sanskrit vayam, Old Persian vayam, Hittite wesh "we," Old Church Slavonic ve "we two," Lithuanian vedu "we two").

The "royal we" (use of plural pronoun to denote oneself) is at least as old as "Beowulf" (c.725); use by writers to establish an impersonal style is also from Old English; it was especially common 19c. in unsigned editorials, to suggest staff consensus, and was lampooned as such since at least 1853 (cf. also wegotism).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for editorial-we


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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