[ yey ]
/ yeɪ /
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yes (used in affirmation or assent).
indeed: Yea, and he did come.
not only this but even: a good, yea, a noble man.
an affirmation; an affirmative reply or vote.
a person who votes in the affirmative.
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Origin of yea

before 900; Middle English ye, ya,Old English gēa; cognate with Dutch, German, Old Norse, Gothic ja

Words nearby yea

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does yea mean?

Yea is an old way of saying yes. It’s especially used as a way of voting yes—the opposite of voting nay (no).

In this sense, it can be used as a noun meaning a vote of yes, as in There are six yeas and three nays—the yeas have it. 

Based on its use in voting, yea is sometimes used in the informal question Yea or nay? (meaning Yes or no?).

Yea is also found in old literature as a way of saying indeed or truly, as in Yea, he hath prevailed. 

Yea can also be used in expressions like about yea tall, meaning “about this tall.” When it’s used in this way, yea refers to the amount being indicated, such as by holding one’s hand at a certain height to indicate how tall something is. However, this sense of yea is more commonly spelled yay.

Although the word yeah looks very similar to (and is often misspelled as) yea (and, yea, the two are related), yea in fact rhymes with its opposite, nay. This means it’s pronounced exactly like another word it’s confused with: yay (which is most commonly used as a celebratory exclamation).

Example: Yay! The proposal passed unanimously! Everyone voted yea!

Where does yea come from?

The first records of the word yea in English come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English word gēa, which is related to words in many other languages that refer to an affirmative response—yes. Yea, the word yes is probably based on the same root.

When yea is used to mean “indeed” or “truly,” it’s most often found in old literature, such as in the King James translation of the Bible.

The most popular use of yea is in voting. In the U.S. Congress, yea and nay are used to vote yes and no. In U.K. Parliament, the equivalent of yea is aye—which can be used as a noun in the same way that yea can, as in The ayes have it. This use of yea and nay became familiar enough that it came to be used in informal conversation to ask about someone’s opinion or preference, as in Should I get these shoes—yea or nay?

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What are some other forms related to yea?

  • yeas (plural)

What are some synonyms for yea?

What are some words that share a root or word element with yea

What are some words that often get used in discussing yea?


What are some words yea may be commonly confused with?

How is yea used in real life?

Yea is most commonly used in the context of voting or situations that approximate voting, especially in the question Yea or nay?



Try using yea!

Is yea used correctly in the following sentence?

This shirt or that shirt: yea or nay?

How to use yea in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for yea

/ (jeɪ) /

sentence substitute
a less common word for aye 1 (def. 1)
(sentence modifier) archaic, or literary indeed; trulyyea, though my enemies spurn me, I shall prevail

Word Origin for yea

Old English gēa; related to Old Frisian jē, Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German jā, Gothic jai
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