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See more synonyms for ye on Thesaurus.com
  1. Archaic, except in some elevated or ecclesiastical prose Literary, or British Dialect.
    1. (used nominatively as the plural of thou especially in rhetorical, didactic, or poetic contexts, in addressing a group of persons or things): O ye of little faith; ye brooks and hills.
    2. (used nominatively for the second person singular, especially in polite address): Do ye not know me?
    3. (used objectively in the second person singular or plural): I have something to tell ye. Arise, the enemy is upon ye!
  2. (used with mock seriousness in an invocation, mild oath, or the like): Ye gods and little fishes!
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Origin of ye1

before 900; Middle English; Old English gē; cognate with Dutch gij, German ihr, Old Norse ēr, Gothic jus


[th ee; spelling pronunciation yee]
definite article Archaic.
  1. the1.
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Usage note

The word ye2 , as in Ye Olde Booke Shoppe, is simply an archaic spelling of the definite article the. The use of the letter Y was a printer's adaptation of the thorn, þ, the character in the Old English alphabet representing the th- sounds (th) and (th̸) in Modern English; Y was the closest symbol in the Roman alphabet. Originally, the form would have been rendered as or ye. The pronunciation [yee] /yi/ today is a spelling pronunciation.


[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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to address as “thou.”
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use “thou” in discourse.
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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

Examples from the Web for ye

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • No—ye could not say it: your hearts would choke your voices.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Ye be my guests, ye wot,” he added, “since ye tarried not for meat at Hyde.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • There was no thought that ye should part till you had some purpose in view.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • I think he would have said, "This woman hath done more than ye all."

  • That sort o' trade, ye see, miss, the demand's not steady in it.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for ye


  1. archaic, or dialect refers to more than one person including the person addressed but not including the speaker
  2. Also: ee () dialect refers to one person addressedI tell ye
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Word Origin

Old English gē; related to Dutch gij, Old Norse ēr, Gothic jus


  1. a form of the, used in conjunction with other putative archaic spellingsye olde oake
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Word Origin

from a misinterpretation of the as written in some Middle English texts. The runic letter thorn (Þ, representing th) was incorrectly transcribed as y because of a resemblance in their shapes


the internet domain name for
  1. Yemen
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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
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Word Origin

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


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


Old English ge, nominative plural of 2nd person pronoun þu (see thou); cognate with Old Frisian ji, Old Saxon gi, Middle Dutch ghi, Dutch gij. Cognate with Lithuanian jus, Sanskrit yuyam, Avestan yuzem, Greek hymeis.

Altered, by influence of we, from an earlier form that was similar to Gothic jus "you (plural)" (see you). The -r- in Old Norse er, German ihr probably is likewise from influence of the 1st person plural pronouns (Old Norse ver, German wir).

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old or quaintly archaic way of writing the, in which the -y- is a 16c. graphic alteration of þ, an Old English character (generally called "thorn," originally a Germanic rune; see th-) that represented the "hard" -th- sound at the beginning of the. Early printers, whose types were founded on the continent, did not have a þ, so they substituted y as the letter that looked most like it. But in such usages it was not pronounced "y." Ye for the (and yt for that) continued in manuscripts through 18c. Revived 19c. as a deliberate antiquarianism; the Ye Olde _____ construction was being mocked by 1896.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper