Origin of yes

before 900; Middle English yes, yis, Old English gēse (adv. and noun), probably equivalent to gēa yea1 + be it (present subjunctive singular of bēon to be)
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Examples from the Web for yes

Contemporary Examples of yes

Historical Examples of yes

  • Yes—I'm hungry for both, and some of those funny little cakes.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Yes, dearest Philothea; but not till she had first told me of her own marriage with Geta.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Yes, and that young shrimp that was talkin' about 'vintages' and 'trouserings.'

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • What you say in New York—'a damned fine old family,' yes, is it not?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Yes, the bathing-suit does have little touches of red, and red—but this will never do.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for yes


sentence substitute

used to express acknowledgment, affirmation, consent, agreement, or approval or to answer when one is addressed
used, often with interrogative intonation, to signal someone to speak or keep speaking, enter a room, or do something


an answer or vote of yes
(often plural) a person who votes in the affirmative
Compare no 1

Word Origin for yes

Old English gēse, from iā sīe may it be; see yea
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 yes

Old English gise, gese "so be it!," probably from gea, ge "so" (see yea) + si "be it!," third person imperative of beon "to be" (see be). Originally stronger than simple yea. Used in Shakespeare mainly as an answer to negative questions. Yes-man is first recorded 1912, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper