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[yoh] /yoʊ/
(used as an exclamation to get someone's attention, express excitement, greet someone, etc.)
here; present: used especially in answer to a roll call.
Origin of yo
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1375-1425


year old; years old. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for yo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "yo' has plumb nerve to tackle a hold-up under them circumstances," he observed.

    Blazed Trail Stories Stewart Edward White
  • "yo' think I never had no orthodonture, whatever thet is," he said.

    Tinker's Dam Joseph Tinker
  • I rackon his life is as sweet to him as yours is to yo', Massah St. John.

    Young Captain Jack Horatio Alger and Arthur M. Winfield
  • "yo' am rich woman now, ma'am," he said in his thick, fruity voice.

  • I'm jes' mentionin' this to yo' to show yo' that thar's reason in my advisin' yo' to keep clar o' this district.

    The Boy With the U.S. Census Francis Rolt-Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for yo


sentence substitute
an expression used as a greeting, to attract someone's attention, etc
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin
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 yo

as a greeting, 1859, but the word is attested as a sailor's or huntsman's utterance since early 15c. Modern popularity dates from World War II (when, it is said, it was a common response at roll calls) and seems to have been most intense in Philadelphia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for yo



A greeting or said to get someone's attention; hey: Yo, dudes and babes!

[1859+; even though yo and yoho are very old utterances, found by 1420, the recent revival of yo as a primarily black interjection has spawned comment; Ernest Paolino of Philadelphia, indignant because a New York writer had claimed the syllable for New York, recalls it from the 1930s as shortening of walyo; in the WWII Army it was the common form of here! used in responding to roll-calls]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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