- Archaic, except in some elevated or ecclesiastical prose Literary, or British Dialect.
- (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.
- (used nominatively for the second person singular, especially in polite address): Do ye not know me?
- (used objectively in the second person singular or plural): I have something to tell ye. Arise, the enemy is upon ye!
- (used with mock seriousness in an invocation, mild oath, or the like): Ye gods and little fishes!
Origin of ye1
- 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.
- (used by the Friends) a familiar form of address of the second person singular.
- to address as “thou.”
- to use “thou” in discourse.
Origin of thou1
Examples from the Web for ye
Contemporary Examples of ye
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.11 Children Shot in Milwaukee, One in Her Grandpa's Lap
November 12, 2014
Ye documented the instance in photos, which soon surfaced online.The Agony and the Ecstasy of Ai Weiwei
May 15, 2014
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.The Story of Noah's Ark From the Bible’s Book of Genesis
The Daily Beast
March 24, 2014
The FDNY Pipes and Drums band played “Will Ye No Come Back again?”Firefighter’s Son in Iconic 1995 Funeral Photo Follows His Dad’s Deadly Steps
December 10, 2013
It always had what became its Ye Olde Greenwich Village look: low density, low buildings, older buildings.Why Did Llewyn Davis’s Greenwich Village Disappear?
December 7, 2013
Historical Examples of ye
No—ye could not say it: your hearts would choke your voices.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
There was no thought that ye should part till you had some purpose in view.
Ye be my guests, ye wot,” he added, “since ye tarried not for meat at Hyde.
I think he would have said, "This woman hath done more than ye all."Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
That sort o' trade, ye see, miss, the demand's not steady in it.Weighed and Wanting
- archaic, or dialect refers to more than one person including the person addressed but not including the speaker
- Also: ee (iː) dialect refers to one person addressedI tell ye
Word Origin for ye
- a form of the, used in conjunction with other putative archaic spellingsye olde oake
Word Origin for ye
- archaic, dialect refers to the person addressed: used mainly in familiar address or to a younger person or inferior
- (usually capital) refers to God when addressed in prayer, etc
Word Origin for thou
- one thousandth of an inch. 1 thou is equal to 0.0254 millimetre
- informal short for thousand
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).
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.
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.