- 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
- the nominative singular pronoun, used by a speaker in referring to himself or herself.
- (used to denote the narrator of a literary work written in the first person singular).
- Metaphysics. the ego.
Origin of I
- refers to the speaker or writer and another person or other peoplewe should go now
- refers to all people or people in generalthe planet on which we live
- when used by editors or other writers, and formerly by monarchs, a formal word for I 1
- (as noun)he uses the royal we in his pompous moods
- informal used instead of you with a tone of persuasiveness, condescension, or sarcasmhow are we today?
- the ninth letter and third vowel of the modern English alphabet
- any of several speech sounds represented by this letter, in English as in bite or hit
- something shaped like an I
- (in combination)an I-beam
- dot the i's and cross the t's to pay meticulous attention to detail
- the imaginary number √–1Also called: j
- (subjective) refers to the speaker or writer
- Italy (international car registration)
Word Origin and History for 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).
12c. shortening of Old English ic, first person singular nominative pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *ekan (cf. Old Frisian ik, Old Norse ek, Norwegian eg, Danish jeg, Old High German ih, German ich, Gothic ik), from PIE *eg-, nominative form of the first person singular pronoun (cf. Sanskrit aham, Hittite uk, Latin ego (source of French Je), Greek ego, Russian ja, Lithuanian aš). Reduced to i by mid-12c. in northern England, it began to be capitalized mid-13c. to mark it as a distinct word and avoid misreading in handwritten manuscripts.
The reason for writing I is ... the orthographic habit in the middle ages of using a 'long i' (that is, j or I) whenever the letter was isolated or formed the last letter of a group; the numeral 'one' was written j or I (and three iij, etc.), just as much as the pronoun. [Otto Jespersen, "Growth and Structure of the English Language," p.233]
The form ich or ik, especially before vowels, lingered in northern England until c.1400 and survived in southern dialects until 18c. The dot on the "small" letter -i- began to appear in 11c. Latin manuscripts, to distinguish the letter from the stroke of another letter (such as -m- or -n-). Originally a diacritic, it was reduced to a dot with the introduction of Roman type fonts.
- The number whose square is equal to -1. Numbers expressed in terms of i are called imaginary or complex numbers.
- The symbol for electric current.
- The symbol for iodine.