Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YE, pron., v. [ji, unstressed jɪ; acc. ju, s.Sc. jʌu. See below.]

A. Forms. Nom. ye, unstressed y', yi(h); arch. ȝe (Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 96). Acc. and dat. you, yow (obs. exc. in s.Sc. where it represents the sound [jʌu]. See P.L.D. § 101.), unstressed ¶yo, ¶ya. The orig. nom. has been retained in Sc., though now obs. or arch. exc. dial. in Eng., and has also been transferred to use as the objective case, where in St. Eng. the contrary development of you has now been established. In the past fifty years distinctive pl. forms ye(e)z, yiz, yaes (Edb. 1964 J. T. R. Ritchie Singing Street 82), yuz, youz(e), yooz have spread, esp. in illiterate use in m.Sc., from Ir. influence (wm.Sc. 1921; Rnf. 1926 G. Blake Young Malcolm 201; em.Sc. (a) 1944 Scots Mag. (April) 4; Clc. 1966 Stat. Acc.3 560) [jiz, juz]. For other forms see also 'E, pron.2, and for ye's = ye sall see Sall.

B. Usages. 1. = Eng. you, sing. and pl., nom. and accus. In dials. where Thou, Du still survive, ye and you are used deferentially by an inferior to a superior in rank, or by a young person to an older, as in Continental usage. Sc. 1711 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 13:
Guess whether ye're in Heaven or Hell, They're sure ye're dead.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 90:
[They] dinna scrimp ye o' a skair O' kebbucks frae their pantries. Ayr. 1778 Burns Tarbolton Lasses v.: As ye gae up by yon hillside, She'll gie ye a beck, and bid ye light.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy vi.:
“Good even, my friend.” “Gude e'en — gude e'en t'ye.”
s.Sc. 1820 Letter Bks. Sir W. Scott (Partington 1930) 322:
In The Monastery when ye mentioned Glendayrg . . . The one ye mention “about the head of Etterick.”
Crm. 1854 H. Miller Schools vii.:
Ye big blubbering blockhead.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 50:
I'll spell ye the word, if ye'll spell me anither.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 258:
Ee hear what they hae got tae say again' ya.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 128:
Damish your skins, I cud thrash the whole pack o' ye.
Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 35:
Ill-deedie fowk wud aye owre-gang yo, Though they saw yo failt an' deen.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (2 June):
Ir ye been at da ling seats, uncle?
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 5:
Yow never acts by itself as the nominative of a verb in the past tense. The expression yow-yins is often used to denote the second person plural. . . . Yow? Yih muckle gowk! Yow haad eer tongue: ee ken nochts aboot eet!
Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (17 Feb.):
Quately, 'tween ye an' me.
Arg. 1949 N. Mitchison and D. Macintosh Men and Herring 30:
Rather than listen to youse grumbling.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 47. 10:
Even when we do use her first name, Jim and I always call her “you”, never the informal “du”.
Ags. 1962 D. Phillips Lichty Nichts 30:
Yez ur gitn a rare day.

2. (1) Used with the imper., quasi-vocatively, with a friendly or deferential force, as bide ye there, come ye ben, haud ye on, haste ye back, sit ye doun, etc. Gen.Sc. Ayr. 1795 Burns Last May iv.:
Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her.
Sc. a.1805 A. Carlyle Autobiog. (1860) 251:
As much as to say “Take you that, Robin.”
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality ix.:
Miss you the roll-call, and see how they'll arrange you.
Rnf. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money viii.:
Wait you till I get the catalogue.

(2) sim. with exclam. words. as fegs, faith, etc. (ne.Sc. 1974). Abd. 1972 D. Toulmin Hard Shining Corn 51:
Nae onie o' they crystal sets — na faith ye.

3. In voc. usage with a n., freq. repeated after it (Cai., Per., wm.Sc. 1974). Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie I. 118:
What's the meaning o' conduct like yon, ye vaig, ye?
Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 180:
The vicar [precentor] met John and was profuse in his thanks. “Ye sawl ye!” he said, “ye've done me a favour this day that mortal man can never repay.”
Gall. 1901 Gallovidian III. 73:
Ye miserable lookin' orishon, ye!

II. v. To address as “you.” Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chronicle (16 Sept.) 2:
The Border tongue in all its dialects, tones, and accents, was in the ascendant — the “yow-ing” and the “mei-ing” proudly prominent.

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"Ye pron., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2021 <>



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