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you

[yoo; unstressed yoo, yuh]
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pronoun, possessive your or yours, objective you, plural you.
  1. the pronoun of the second person singular or plural, used of the person or persons being addressed, in the nominative or objective case: You are the highest bidder. It is you who are to blame. We can't help you. This package came for you. Did she give you the book?
  2. one; anyone; people in general: a tiny animal you can't even see.
  3. (used in apposition with the subject of a sentence, sometimes repeated for emphasis following the subject): You children pay attention. You rascal, you!
  4. Informal. (used in place of the pronoun your before a gerund): There's no sense in you getting upset.
  5. Archaic.
    1. yourself; yourselves: Get you home. Make you ready.
    2. a plural form of the pronoun ye1.
noun, plural yous.
  1. something or someone closely identified with or resembling the person addressed: Don't buy the bright red shirt—it just isn't you. It was like seeing another you.
  2. the nature or character of the person addressed: Try to discover the hidden you.

Origin of you

before 900; Middle English; Old English ēow (dative, accusative of ye1); cognate with Old Frisian ju, Old Saxon iu, Dutch u, Old High German iu, eu
Can be confusedewe yew you (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

In American English the pronoun you has been supplemented by additional forms to make clear the distinction between singular and plural. You-all, often pronounced as one syllable, is a widespread spoken form in the South Midland and Southern United States. Its possessive is often you-all's rather than your. You-uns (from you + ones ) is a South Midland form most often found in uneducated speech; it is being replaced by you-all. Youse ( you + the plural -s ending of nouns), probably of Irish-American origin, is most common in the North, especially in urban centers like Boston, New York, and Chicago. It is rare in educated speech. You guys is a common informal expression among younger speakers; it can include persons of both sexes or even a group of women only. See also me.

thou1

[th ou]
pronoun, singular, nominative thou; possessive thy or thine; objective thee; plural, nominative you or ye; possessive your or yours; objective you or ye.
  1. Archaic except in some elevated or ecclesiastical prose. the personal pronoun of the second person singular in the nominative case (used to denote the person or thing addressed): Thou shalt not kill.
  2. (used by the Friends) a familiar form of address of the second person singular.
verb (used with object)
  1. to address as “thou.”
verb (used without object)
  1. to use “thou” in discourse.

Origin of thou1

before 900; Middle English; Old English thū; cognate with German, Middle Dutch du, Old Norse thū, Gothic thu, Old Irish tú, Welsh, Cornish ti, Latin tū, Doric Greek tý, Lithuanian tù, OCS ty; akin to Sanskrit tvam; (v.) late Middle English thowen, derivative of the pronoun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for you

you

pronoun (subjective or objective)
  1. refers to the person addressed or to more than one person including the person or persons addressed but not including the speakeryou know better; the culprit is among you
  2. Also: one refers to an unspecified person or people in generalyou can't tell the boys from the girls
  3. mainly US a dialect word for yourself or yourselvesyou should get you a wife now See yourself
noun
  1. informal the personality of the person being addressed or something that expresses itthat hat isn't really you
  2. you know what or you know who a thing or person that the speaker cannot or does not want to specify

Word Origin

Old English ēow, dative and accusative of ye 1; related to Old Saxon eu, Old High German iu, Gothic izwis

xref

See me 1

thou1

pronoun (subjective)
  1. archaic, dialect refers to the person addressed: used mainly in familiar address or to a younger person or inferior
  2. (usually capital) refers to God when addressed in prayer, etc

Word Origin

Old English thū; related to Old Saxon thū, Old High German du, Old Norse thū, Latin tū, Doric Greek tu

thou2

noun plural thous or thou
  1. one thousandth of an inch. 1 thou is equal to 0.0254 millimetre
  2. informal short for thousand
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 you

Old English eow, dative and accusative plural of þu (see thou), objective case of ge, "ye" (see ye), from West Germanic *iuwiz (cf. Old Norse yor, Old Saxon iu, Old Frisian iuwe, Middle Dutch, Dutch u, Old High German iu, iuwih, German euch), from PIE *ju.

Pronunciation of you and the nominative form ye gradually merged from 14c.; the distinction between them passed out of general usage by 1600. Widespread use of French in England after 12c. gave English you the same association as French vous, and it began to drive out singular nominative thou, originally as a sign of respect (similar to the "royal we") when addressing superiors, then equals and strangers, and ultimately (by c.1575) becoming the general form of address. For a more thorough discussion of this, go here. Through 13c. English also retained a dual pronoun ink "you two; your two selves; each other."

Words for "you" in Japanese include anata (formal, used by a wife when addressing her husband), kimi (intimate, used among friends) or the rougher omae (oh-MAI-aye), used when talking down to someone or among male friend showing their manliness. Dial. you-uns, for you-ones, first noted 1810 in Ohio.

thou

pron.

2nd nominative singular personal pronoun, Old English þu, from Proto-Germanic *thu (cf. Old Frisian thu, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German du, Old High German and German du, Old Norse þu, Gothic þu), from PIE *tu-, second person singular pronoun (cf. Latin tu, Irish tu, Welsh ti, Greek su, Lithuanian tu, Old Church Slavonic ty, Sanskrit twa-m).

Superseded in Middle English by plural form you (from a different root), but retained in certain dialects (e.g. Philadelphia Quakers). The plural at first was used in addressing superior individuals, later also (to err on the side of propriety) strangers, and ultimately all equals. By c.1450 the use of thou to address inferiors gave it a tinge of insult unless addressed by parents to children, or intimates to one another. Hence the verb meaning "to use 'thou' to a person" (mid-15c.).

Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee! ["Hickscorner," c.1530]

A brief history of the second person pronoun in English can be found here.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with you

you

In addition to the idioms beginning with you

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.