- the pronoun of the second person singular or plural, used of the person or persons being addressed, in the nominative or objective case: You are the highest bidder. It is you who are to blame. We can't help you. This package came for you. Did she give you the book?
- one; anyone; people in general: a tiny animal you can't even see.
- (used in apposition with the subject of a sentence, sometimes repeated for emphasis following the subject): You children pay attention. You rascal, you!
- Informal. (used in place of the pronoun your before a gerund): There's no sense in you getting upset.
- yourself; yourselves: Get you home. Make you ready.
- a plural form of the pronoun ye1.
- something or someone closely identified with or resembling the person addressed: Don't buy the bright red shirt—it just isn't you. It was like seeing another you.
- the nature or character of the person addressed: Try to discover the hidden you.
Origin of you
- 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
- refers to the person addressed or to more than one person including the person or persons addressed but not including the speakeryou know better; the culprit is among you
- Also: one refers to an unspecified person or people in generalyou can't tell the boys from the girls
- mainly US a dialect word for yourself or yourselvesyou should get you a wife now See yourself
- informal the personality of the person being addressed or something that expresses itthat hat isn't really you
- you know what or you know who a thing or person that the speaker cannot or does not want to specify
Word Origin for you
- 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 eow, dative and accusative plural of þu (see thou), objective case of ge, "ye" (see ye), from West Germanic *iuwiz (cf. Old Norse yor, Old Saxon iu, Old Frisian iuwe, Middle Dutch, Dutch u, Old High German iu, iuwih, German euch), from PIE *ju.
Pronunciation of you and the nominative form ye gradually merged from 14c.; the distinction between them passed out of general usage by 1600. Widespread use of French in England after 12c. gave English you the same association as French vous, and it began to drive out singular nominative thou, originally as a sign of respect (similar to the "royal we") when addressing superiors, then equals and strangers, and ultimately (by c.1575) becoming the general form of address. For a more thorough discussion of this, go here. Through 13c. English also retained a dual pronoun ink "you two; your two selves; each other."
Words for "you" in Japanese include anata (formal, used by a wife when addressing her husband), kimi (intimate, used among friends) or the rougher omae (oh-MAI-aye), used when talking down to someone or among male friend showing their manliness. Dial. you-uns, for you-ones, first noted 1810 in Ohio.
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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with you
- you better believe it
- you bet your ass
- you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink
- you can say that again
- you can't take it with you
- you can't win
- you can't win 'em all
- you could cut it with a knife
- you don't say
- you get what you pay for
- you just don't get it
- you know
- you know something?
- you name it
- you never can tell
- young at heart
- you said it
- you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours
- all right for you
- as you please
- before you can say Jack Robinson
- before you know it
- between you and me
- bite the hand that feeds you
- do you read me
- for shame (on you)
- fuck you
- good for (you)
- how does that grab you
- how do you do
- if you can't beat them, join them
- I'll be seeing you
- I told you so
- look before you leap
- my heart bleeds for you
- no matter how you slice it
- not if you paid me
- now you're talking
- pay as you go
- practice what you preach
- quit while you're ahead
- same to you
- says who (you)
- screw you
- that's ___ for you
- what do you know
- what do you take me for
- what have you
- what of it (what's it to you)
- what's eating you