See more synonyms for yay on Thesaurus.com

Origin of yay

First recorded in 1960–65; perhaps alteration of yeah



or yea

adverb Informal.
  1. to the extent, amount, etc., indicated: The doll is about yay high.

Origin of yay

probably < yea1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for yay

Contemporary Examples of yay

Historical Examples of yay

  • He did so, and when he reached the bottom he found the yay there awaiting him.

  • At this moment a shout was heard from the alley, "Yay, Penrod!"

  • Ickle bother can't say nuffin, without me to sow him the yay of it.

    The Maid of Sker

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • Today Yay Nuni was granted an allowance of 15 laks from Parsarr,2668 made to put on a dress of honour, and given his leave.

    The Bbur-nma in English

    Babur, Emperor of Hindustan

  • "Yay," sed the Shaker, and he led the way into the house, another Shaker bein sent to put my hosses and waggin under kiver.

    The Complete Works of Artemus Ward

    Charles Farrar Browne (AKA Artemus Ward)

British Dictionary definitions for yay


  1. informal an exclamation indicating approval, congratulation, or triumph

Word Origin for yay

C20: perhaps from yeah
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 yay

"this," as in yay big "this big," 1950s, perhaps from yea "yes" in its sense of "even, truly, verily." "a sort of demonstrative adverb used with adjectives of size, height, extent, etc., and often accompanied by a hand gesture indicating size" [DAS].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper