you, pron., adj., and n.
early Old English ieow
, Old English iu
), Old English iw
), Old English–early Middle English eow
, Old English (Mercian
)–early Middle English heow
, Old English (rare
)–Middle English ou
, Old English–1500s iow
, late Old English–early Middle English eou
, early Middle English æu
, early Middle English cow
(transmission error), early Middle English eo
, early Middle English eov
, early Middle English eowe
, early Middle English eoy
, early Middle English eu
, early Middle English euwȝ
, early Middle English ew
, early Middle English ewug
, early Middle English geau
, early Middle English ȝehw
, early Middle English geo
, early Middle English ȝeou
, early Middle English ȝeow
, early Middle English geu
, early Middle English ȝeu
, early Middle English gew
, early Middle English ȝiu
, early Middle English gou
, early Middle English gu
, early Middle English ȝuw
), early Middle English heou
, early Middle English heov
, early Middle English heu
, early Middle English ihu
, early Middle English jou
, early Middle English oeu
, early Middle English ouv
, early Middle English ue
, early Middle English weo
, early Middle English wou
(perhaps transmission error), Middle English ȝaw
, Middle English ȝew
, Middle English ȝewe
, Middle English ȝhou
, Middle English ȝhow
, Middle English ȝhowe
, Middle English ȝiow
, Middle English giu
, Middle English ȝo
, Middle English ȝogh
, Middle English ȝou
, Middle English ȝoue
, Middle English ȝouȝ
, Middle English ȝov
, Middle English ȝove
, Middle English ȝowe
, Middle English ȝowȝ
, Middle English ȝu
, Middle English ȝue
, Middle English ȝw
, Middle English hou
, Middle English how
, Middle English iou
, Middle English ov
, Middle English ow
, Middle English owe
, Middle English þow
, perhaps transmission error), Middle English yhou
, Middle English yhove
, Middle English yhow
, Middle English yhu
, Middle English yiowe
, Middle English yo
, Middle English yov
, Middle English yove
, Middle English yu
, Middle English yw
, Middle English 1600s yew
, Middle English–1500s ȝow
, Middle English–1500s yowe
, Middle English–1600s yow
, Middle English– you
, late Middle English gow
, late Middle English yaw
, late Middle English yoe
, late Middle English yogh
, late Middle English–1600s youe
, 1500s (1900s– regional
, 1900s– yeh
); English regional
), 1800s ow
), 1800s yar
), 1800s yau
), 1800s yay
), 1800s yeou
), 1800s yeue
), 1800s– oo
), 1800s– yah
, 1800s– yaw
), 1800s– yeaow
), 1800s– yeow
), 1800s– yew
), 1800s– yo'
), 1800s– yoa
, 1800s– yoo
), 1800s– yow
, 1900s– yeh
), 1900s– yu
); U.S. regional
, 1900s– y'u
, pre-1700 ȝhow
, pre-1700 ȝhu
, pre-1700 ȝou
, pre-1700 ȝoue
, pre-1700 ȝov
, pre-1700 ȝow
, pre-1700 ȝowe
, pre-1700 ȝu
, pre-1700 ȝw
, pre-1700 yew
, pre-1700 yhou
, pre-1700 yhoue
, pre-1700 yhov
, pre-1700 yhow
, pre-1700 yhowe
, pre-1700 yhu
, pre-1700 yhw
, pre-1700 yiow
, pre-1700 youe
, pre-1700 yov
, pre-1700 yove
, pre-1700 yu
, pre-1700 yw
, pre-1700 1700s– you
, pre-1700 1700s– yow
, pre-1700 1900s– yowe
, 1800s– yoo
, 1900s– y
; Welsh English
, 1900s– yew
, 1900s– yue
Combined (in contracted form) with a preceding or following word (usually a verb). a.
Proclitic 1500s– y'-
Enclitic. English regional
, 1900s– -a
, 1900s– -eh
, 1900s– -ey
. See also , , , , (Show Less)
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Cognate with (as accusative and dative of the second person plural personal pronoun) Old Frisian iu
(East Frisian (Saterland) jou
, (Wangeroog) jo
), Old Dutch iu
(Middle Dutch u
, Dutch u
), Old Saxon iu
(Middle Low German iuwe
), and (as dative) Old High German, Middle High German iu
, probably showing the reflex of a variant (with assimilation of *zw
) of a Germanic pronoun form reflected by Gothic izwis
, and also (with dissimilation of *zw
) by Old Icelandic yðr
(Icelandic (honorific) yður
), Faroese (honorific) tygum
) (only as singular; also in subjective case), Norn (Shetland) dor
, Norwegian regional dår
, Norwegian (Bokmål) dere
(also in subjective case), Old Swedish iþer
, (formal) eder
), Old Danish ithær
, (archaic) eder
), probably ultimately reflecting an Indo-European second person plural oblique personal pronoun form reflected also by e.g. classical Latin vōs
, Sanskrit (enclitic) vas
, Old Church Slavonic vasŭ
, Early Irish sí
, Welsh chwi
, although the relationships are very difficult to trace in detail (probably reflecting extensive remodelling of the system in various languages), and varying explanations have been offered. (The usual forms of the objective case of the 2nd person plural pronoun in modern Icelandic, Faroese, and Norwegian (Nynorsk) are supplied by originally dual forms (see ).)
Originally the accusative and dative plural of the second personal pronoun: see
for the full paradigm of the 2nd person pronoun in Old English. There have been two major changes in the use of :
(i) Use as a plural subject form (see sense ), in place of
This process apparently began in the 14th cent., and
became the dominant form in this function by at least the end of the 16th cent. in most written language. It has long been the invariable form as both subject and object form in almost all contexts in the modern standard language.
(ii) Use as a singular form, originally as an object form (see sense ) and later also as a subject form (see sense ). This was part of the more general phenomenon of use of plural forms with singular reference, originally for reasons of respect, deference, or formality; compare likewise
(before its replacement by ) and , and see further discussion below.
Old English ēow
shows the expected reflex of West Germanic *iu
after the lowering of the second element of diphthongs in Old English and the (later) merger of īo
(the final -w
is apparently by analogy with the genitive form ēower
); spellings such as Mercian , Northumbrian
(probably representing *īuw
rather than īow
) appear to show retention of an unlowered second element before w
Forms showing a palatal on-glide /j/
(compare Middle English you
, etc.) are earliest attested for ,
(already in Old English; compare , ), and are apparently after
In early Middle English the initial palatal absorbed the first element of the diphthong /iu/
(the regular reflex of Old English ēo
), resulting, after the shift of stress from a falling to a rising diphthong, in /juː/
; a stage already reached (in some speech) by the early 13th cent. (compare the form
in the Ormulum
). Middle English long ū
thus produced was subject to regular diphthongization to /aʊ/
by the operation of the Great Vowel Shift, as is attested by some 16th- and 17th-cent. orthoepists, who also provide evidence that by the second half of the 17th cent. this pronunciation had come to be regarded as a vulgarism; it survives in a number of modern regional English varieties. The modern standard pronunciation derives partly from a Middle English unstressed variant with short ŭ
, subsequently restressed and lengthened, and partly from a form which preserved the falling diphthong /iu/
and subsequently shared the development of other words with this sound (e.g. , ) in which the shift of stress to /juː/
did not take place until later; see further E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700
(ed. 2, 1968
) II. §§4, 178.
As is typical of personal pronoun forms, stressed and unstressed variants have been found throughout the word's history. In some functions, unstressed variants may have partly merged with unstressed variants of
For graphic representations of unstressed variants see also , , , and compare also
In combination with a following word (compare Forms 2a) frequently with contracted verbs, where an apostrophe is now standard (e.g. you're
Distinctive forms of the accusative in Old English and other Germanic languages.
, Old English also had a form ēowic
, etc.), cognate with or formed similarly to Old Dutch iuch
, Middle Low German iük
, Old High German iuwih
(Middle High German iuch
, German euch
). This was originally a distinctive accusative form, and probably arose by analogy with similar forms of the 1st and 2nd person singular pronouns: compare discussion of Old English mec
at ). In Old English it also occasionally occurs as dative and in Northumbrian in particular can be either accusative or dative (a tendency to redifferentiate the variants īuih
as, respectively, accusative and dative has been traced in the work of Aldred, who very rarely uses the oblique form īow
). In West Saxon, the form ēowic
is attested only in verse (in sources influenced by non-West Saxon models). Compare:
eOE (Mercian) Vespasian Psalter
cxiii. 22 (14)
Adiciat dominus super uos, super uos et super filios uestros : togeece ryht' [read dryhten] ofer eowic ofer eowic & ofer bearn eowre.
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: John v. 42
Sed cognoui uos quia dilectionem dei non habetis in uobis: ah ic cuðe iuih [OE Rushw. iowih] þætte lufu godes ne habbas gie in iuih [OE Rushw. iow].
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: John viii. 36
Si ergo filius uos liberauerit : gif uutudlice ðe sune iuih gefriað [OE Rushw. iow].
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: John xiii. 34
Mandatum nouum do uobis : bebod niua ic selo iuh [OE Rushw. iow].
Hwanon eagorstream ofer yða gewealc eowic brohte?
In Old Frisian a form compounded with man
also occurs for all cases of the 2nd person plural pronoun, and this gives rise to the normal form in modern West Frisian: Old Frisian iemman
(West Frisian jimme
History of use of forms: (i) use as subject form.
Use of you
as a plural subject form, and conversely of ye
as a plural object form, appears to date from the 14th and 15th centuries respectively, occurring at first rather sporadically: see examples at
and . This may partly have arisen from homophony of unstressed forms of each pronoun (see above on forms), and hence reanalysis. In some early instances you
may have been exploited as a more distinctive form in contexts where inversion of usual word order occurred, but the precise circumstances are unclear.
For a possible antecedent for this use as plural subject form (see sense ) perhaps compare Old English use of ēow selfe
in apposition to gē
or after a verb in the imperative (see discussion at ).
History of use of forms: (ii) use of plural forms with singular reference.
In post-classical Latin in pre-Conquest British sources, the use of the use of 2nd plural pronouns in addressing a king or a bishop (the so-called plural of reverence) is apparently occasionally found, but is used more rarely and less consistently than on the continent; compare e.g.:
a1002 Ælfric Let. to Wulfsige in B. Fehr Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics
Obtemperauimus iussioni tuæ libenti animo. Sed non ausi fuimus aliquid scribere de episcopali gradu, quia uestrum est scire quomodo uos oporteat optimis moribus exemplum omnibus fieri.
In the following quotation a possible instance of such a Latin plural in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica
is translated literally in the Old English translation, but was perhaps taken by the translator to refer to the bishop and his household:
eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist.
v. vi. 402
Cwæð he: Ðynceð þe? mæge ðu lyfgan? Cwæð [ic]: Ic mæg þurh eower gebeodu [L. per orationes uestras], gif Dryhten wile.
After the Conquest, use of historically plural forms with singular reference, for reasons of showing respect, deference, or formality, is found from the 13th cent. onwards: see , , and branch
This has contemporary parallels in many other European languages, Germanic as well as Romance; in Britain, usage in Latin and French was a key influence. Such usage appears at first to have been particularly characteristic of courtly or upper-class speech, and to have spread gradually through other social strata. In late Middle English and in the 16th cent. a common pattern was that forms in th-
were used towards social inferiors or children, or to others to mark either intimacy or contempt, but forms in y-
were used in most other functions. These gradually became the neutral, usual forms. The forms in th-
became much less frequent in the standard language in the 17th cent.: see note at
on their subsequent history.
Difficulty of distinguishing between forms of thou and you in some Middle English and Older Scots sources.
In later Middle English scripts of northern, north-east midland, and East Anglian origin (as well as early manuscripts and some of the early printed books in Older Scots) the shapes of letters þ
are not distinguished (or, less commonly, the functions of the letters are confused; compare the northern Middle English form , and see M. Benskin ‘The letter <þ> and <y> in later middle English, and some related matters’ in Jrnl. Soc. Archivists 7
) 13-30, and also the discussion at ).
In earlier Middle English, the same merger of the two letter shapes occurred in a proportionally smaller number of scripts coming from a wider area (including the west midlands and the south-west).
The approach of the vast majority of modern critical editions has been to transcribe manuscript forms according to the sound value as reconstructed by the editor. However, it is often impossible to be certain whether subjectival uses of the 2nd person pronouns from sources that do not distinguish the shapes of þ
belong to this entry or to
(and similarly with objectival uses of
in relation to subjectival uses of ). Quotations from these sources (with editorial forms like þou
, etc.) have only been used in this entry or at
when the grammatical number is made unambiguous by the context (normally by the verb form or presence of a possessive adjective; compare
and the examples cited at that entry). Due to the interchangeability of y
in certain hands, occasional forms of
are also attested (see ). However, since instances of this are quite rare, examples of forms in ȝ-
have been taken to belong at this entry unless indicated otherwise by the context.
The objective case of the second person plural pronoun , representing the Old English accusative and dative.
Used to address two or more persons, animals, or personified things.
OE (Mercian) xxv. 45
Amen dico uobis : soþ ic sæcge eow [OE Lindisf. iuh, OE West Saxon Gospels: Corpus Cambr. eow, c1200 Hatton gu].
lOE King Ælfred tr. Boethius
I. xix. 283
Hwæt forstent eow þonne se gilp, huru þam þe se æfterra deað gegripð?
lOE Homily: Evangelium de Virginibus
(Corpus Cambr. 303)
in H. L. C. Tristram
(Ph.D. diss., Freiburg)
Hu mugon we eow beran gewitnesse, þonne we mugen uneaðe us selfe beren gewitnesse of godum weorcum.
a1200 MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris
2nd Ser. 117
Ich wile giu senden þe heuenliche frefringe.
MS Lamb. in R. Morris
1st Ser. 49
Nu we sculen heow sceawen hwilc hit is heom for to heren.
He ȝu wolde wissin of wiliche [read wisliche] þinges.
Hit is eo [c1300 Otho ȝou] muchel scome þat ȝe wulleð at-sceken.
Hit wes i don eu [c1275 Calig. ov] a loþe custe.
Ȝuf we doþ ou wrong wo ssal ou do riȝt?
Ȝe habbeþ iherd as ich ow tolde, For-whi God þe world maken wolde.
Sythen sal i tell yow [Fairf. ȝaw, Gött. ȝou] Of iacob and of esau.
(Galba & Harl.)
Here haf I shewed yhow, on Inglys, Som syns þat Saynt Austyn specifys.
1481 W. Caxton tr.
I shal shew yow one exampel.
tr. G. Deguileville
iv. v. f. lxj
I graunte you leue, seyth what yow semyth eueryche in his parte.
I. xii. 113
Now God gyf you care, Foles all sam! Sagh I neuer none so fare Bot the foles of Gotham.
I will ȝow giue Eternall lyfe.
1640 R. Brome sig. H4v
Ile give you halfe a dozen At the next Ale-house, to set all right.
Gentlemen, Let me tell you what our Law-books say.
1722 D. Defoe 151
I tell you, that..we have not made use of the barn.
1793 R. Burns 1
Instead of a Song, boys, I'll give you a toast.
1859 C. Kingsley xiii
I preach to you a Spirit..who has given you all the life you have.
1896 Feb. 498/2
What do you intend to do with us?..Give you the witch's parole.
1917 Nov. 454/2
He died a hero, dear children. And he sent you kisses; your names were last on his lips.
1929 B. Hall & J. J. Niles xxi. 169
I tell you all this story to show you that collisions actually happened.
2002 S. E. Gutstein & R. K. Sheely
Class, I want to tell you how proud I am.
OE (Mercian) xii. 28
Igitur peruenit in uos regnum dei : þonne uel cuþlice becymeþ in eow [OE Lindisf. iuih] rice godes.
Ic wylle settan min wed betux me & eow.
MS Lamb. in R. Morris
1st Ser. 149 (MED)
Biddeð ure drihten þet ȝe moten..þene fule onkume for-lete, þa þe douel haueð in ow ibroht of sunne.
?a1300 in F. J. Furnivall
ii. 774 (MED)
Lokeþ..Wat ich for ou ouþe.
c1300 St. Patrick's Purgatory
612 in C. Horstmann
Ȝif ich fram eov wende, A-drad ich am of þe feondene miȝte.
Helle ȝates, y com ȝou to, now ich wil þat ȝe vndo.
John xviii. 39
It is a custom to ȝou, that I delyuer oon to ȝou in pask.
I witnes bifor God Almiȝty, and alle trewe cristunmen and wommen, and ȝowe.
I. xx. 241
And I in you, and ye in me.
Mark weill..How Christis croce, is for ȝow meit.
Longe to reigne over yow.
1616 B. Jonson Epicœne v. iii, in I. 591
That it be not strange to you, I will tell you.
1693 W. Bowles tr. Juvenal in J. Dryden et al. tr. Juvenal v. 80
Will any Freedom here from you be born, Whose Cloaths are thred-bare.
1722 D. Defoe 152
The Danger is as great from you to us, as from us to you.
1793 16 Jan. 1/3
How could any of you..behold two thirds of your Conntrymen [sic], miserable, oppressed and naked?
1821 W. Scott I. i. 14
Here's an unbelieving Pagan for you, gentlemen!
1896 ‘Mrs. Forrester’ 46
You have killed me between you.
1919 76 169
You brought your wives with you.
1958 C. Achebe xviii. 144
It is only eighteen months since the Seed was first sown among you.
1996 M. K. Blakely 89
I know that some of you will be jet-lagged.
As subject, replacing
?1570 T. Preston sig. Fv
Farwel you Ladyes of the Court.
1597 W. Shakespeare i. iii. 158
Heare me you wrangling Pyrats that fall out, In sharing that which you haue pild from me.
1658 A. Cokayne Trappolin v. v, in 523
You Lords of Florence, wise Machavil, and You Lord Barbarino, will you never come Out of this frenzie?
1694 W. Westmacott 65
Mark that, you women, and morphew'd ladies.
1716 B. Griffin ii. 29
Do if you dare! you abominable slandering Villains!
1799 R. B. Sheridan ii. ii
And you, my daughters,..away to the appointed place of safety.
1846 C. Dickens
‘Oh you beauties!’ cried Susan Nipper, affecting to salute the door by which the two ladies had departed.
1871 B. Jowett tr. Plato I. 34
You sirs, I said, what are you conspiring about?
1885 Ld. Tennyson i
You, you, if you shall fail to understand, What England is,..On you will come the curse of all the land.
1905 15 Jan. 78/2
Here, Bose, Tiger, Boxer, come here this minute! Come here, you dogs!
1920 ‘K. Mansfield’ 31 Jan.
Oh, you darlings—how I shall love to pop eyes on you again.
1975 H. Scheub in R. M. Dorson
You! Children of the duiker! Please throw a small rope to me.
2004 D. Sinclair i. 9
You guys, you shouldn't be working now.
Used to address a single person, animal, or personified thing, originally as a mark of respect, deference, or formality but later in general use (see the etymological note at ).
As object, replacing
Leuedi..we ayen you haue be fikel.
MS Vernon Homilies in
57 270 (MED)
But I beo deceyued, On ȝow þe childre I Conceyued.
Oure men sall with ȝow mote.
Me thouȝt þat assemely lady come me to..& badde þat y chulde heyȝe & to ȝow go.
St. Ninian 1123 in W. M. Metcalfe
Lord,..of þat land ȝet brocht haf I a man to ȝou as presonere.
1482 Ordinance Syon Libr. in
This owre ordinance made for yowe Thomas Raille nowe keper of þe said Brethernes locutorie.
in C. Monro
Unto you that bene a member of chirche.
1596 J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie
This goldne aple..J preparit and decoret vnto ȝow my Souerane.
1607 T. Tomkis iv. i. sig. H2
Mendatio you offer mee great wrong to hold me, in good-faith I shall fall out with you.
1682 A. Marsh x. 197
O, young House-Father, this is a most incomparable Pleasure for you!
1709 Lady M. W. Montagu Nov.
You know people can never leave your company, or writing to you, without regret.
1780 No. 97
‘Quantity of syllables,’ exclaimed the Captain, ‘there is a modern education for you!’
1803 R. Southey
Losing the chance of netting you at Oswestry, I have been in hopes of hearing from you.
1852 H. B. Stowe II. xx. 35
I bought her, and I'll give her to you.
1919 J. Buchan ix. 170
You're going to be a stout fellow and start in two hours' time. And you're going to take me with you.
1968 N. Cruz & J. Buckingham ii. 28
Hey, look baby. I have something for you.
2005 T. Umrigar
Pardon my saying so, Sera, but I've told you for years that Bhima will take advantage of you.
l. 1812 (MED)
Sire Pilate..Of o þing we warne yow.
Madame,..nis it no sekenes bote þat so sore ȝouȝ eiles, I schal þurth craft þat ich kan keuer ȝou i hope.
My wurschypful fadyr,..Here my bone..For sorowe my soule haþ ȝow soȝt.
I beseke you my souerayne, assente to my sawes.
(Chepman & Myllar)
To mak you lord of your avne me think it grete skill.
1584 King James VI & I sig. Kijv
I will also wish ȝow (docile Reidar) that or ȝe cummer ȝow with reiding thir reulis [etc.].
I committ youe to the tuition of Jesu.
1600 W. Shakespeare iv. i. 331
A Daniell Iew, now infidell I haue you on the hip.
1650 in F. P. Verney & M. M. Verney
If yew love your selfe, and those that love yew.
1699 G. Farquhar iv. iii. 62
I had only a mind to convince you of your Squireship.
1749 H. Fielding IV. xii. iv. 213
Your Religion..serves you only for an Excuse for your Faults.
1791 J. Boswell anno 1777 II. 142
He [sc. Johnson] will not hear you.
1836 C. Dickens
It will afford me the greatest pleasure to know you, sir.
1857 8 Aug. 83/1
When I say mammon, I don't mean idle dukes or greedy merchant-princes; my small adulterating shopkeeper I mean you!
1933 ‘L. G. Gibbon’ iii. 157
Did he hurt you, Ewan?
1962 A. Ginsberg Let. 5 Aug. in A. Ginsberg & L. Ginsberg
I'm sorry I was not there to comfort you.
1991 A. Campbell i. 13
‘I could eat you,’ I murmur, hungrily. I make a grab for her and nibble her ear.
No bowes now thar ȝow bende; Of blis ȝe er all bare.
l. 232 (MED)
Intende well, and Gode wyll be yow adjutory.
a1529 J. Skelton
Nowe must I make you a lectuary softe.
1580 T. Lupton
Your lye wil neither gain you lease nor lande.
1592 T. Kyd iii. sig. F4v
I..Bought you a whistle and a whipstalke too.
1603 W. Shakespeare v. i. 162
If hee be not rotten before He be laide in..He will last you, eight yeares, a tanner Will last you eight yeares full out.
1624 W. Bedell xii. 162
Vnto him..I doe..commend you: and rest you, Your very louing brother.
1713 J. Addison ii. v. 27
I've offer'd To..gain you whom you love at any Price.
1791 i. 13
If your own mamma had been alive, she would have bought you a rocking horse.
1831 E. J. Trelawny I. 290
I have ordered the boy to make you some congee.
1891 July 22
If I were an upholsterer..I would draw you up a brief inventory of the contents of M. Platzoff's bedroom.
1925 J. Metcalfe 26
There you are, old horse; don't say I never did you a good turn.
1959 6 June 12/1
If you're not in a hurry will you let me buy you a coffee?
2005 27 Oct. 24/4
They'll cook you a perfect full English.
1600 W. Shakespeare i. ii. 77
I wil roare you as gently, as any sucking doue: I will roare you, and 'twere any Nightingale.
1789 H. Brooke ii. ii. 27
Now he will carry you nineteen kingdoms upon his own shoulders.
1878 ‘G. Eliot’ College Breakfast Party in July 169
Anti-social force that sweeps you down The world in one cascade of molecules.
As subject, replacing
My lord and you my lady, yf ye vouchsaf it were tyme that we went thrugh the world at our auenture.
a1594 ii. ii
You lye you horesone Cuckold you bace vacabond you slave you mungrell peasant doulte and foole.
1600 W. Shakespeare iii. ii. 289
Fy, fy, you counterfait, you puppet, you.
1606 G. Chapman iii. sig. D4v
You asse you, d'ee call my Lord horse?
1668 J. Dryden v. 68
You old Sot you, to be caught so sillily!
1768 O. Goldsmith ii. 27
And you have but too well succeeded, you little hussey, you.
a1794 M. Palmer
How unvitty and cat-handed you go about it, you dough-cake.
1840 W. M. Thackeray ix
You young hangdog, you!
1849 H. W. Herbert II. 179
Walk a few yards ahead of me, and look out you for all that cross you!
1852 E. Burne-Jones Let. 24 Jan. in
You scamp not to write before.
1919 B. Capes xxi. 273
‘I love you for trying, you dear,’ he said.
1961 A. Wilson v. 276
‘We'll get you, you fucker!’ Barley was shouting.
1986 A. G. Mojtabai xiv. 181
We can look back down to the houses where we live and we can say: ‘Goodbye, you piece of junk! Goodbye, old shack!’
2003 C. Fowler
She grabbed Harry's hand. ‘Come on, you. Let's lose the others, I don't want to talk about work tonight.’
As subject or object.
1536 H. Latimer Let. 12 July in J. Gairdner
As touching you wot what, I have written again.
1545 R. Ascham ii. f. 29v
As though they were doyng you wotte what.
1602 R. Marbecke 24
The Collier, that passing through Bucklersbury, fell into a kind of trance, with the sweete smels of that street, and was reuiued againe with the smell of, you wot what.
As the Priest said, when he did you wot what.
. Cf. .
1564 W. Bullein f. 14v
The firste [thing] was, his greate surfettes in banqueting: the second his watchyng at Chesse and Cardes, the thirde you knowe what, Venus, Venus, God wote.
a1680 S. Butler
Who made a general Council regulate Mens catching Women by the—you know what.
1710 J. Swift 7 Oct.
They may talk of the you know what; but, gad, if it had not been for that, I should never have been able to get the access I have had.
1857 2 240
First give me, Marguerite, just a little drop of you know what. I'm quite husky.
1869 A. Trollope I. x. 84
She told me once..it would lead to my being everlastingly—you know what. She isn't so squeamish as I am, and said it out.
1949 C. Beaton Diary Nov. in
There was I, trying to get the trays ready for everybody—with Marguerite in bed ill having her you-know-whats.
1975 E. Clinton
You-know-who would be very you-know-what.
1981 ‘Q. Crisp’ vi. 81
Since neither I nor Mr. Hurt..flashed you-know-what before the cameras..we might both by modern standards be considered old-fashioned.
2007 May 338/2
Relationships are a pain in the you-know-what.
1605 W. Camden i. 26
Κακάω, to you know what.
1732 H. Fielding 12
Sir, let me beseech you to conceal your self no longer, and oblige us to you know what.
1884 24 Feb. 781/3
If any of you disturb at all, there will be no orange and no sixpence, and I have told the stewards to—you know what.
1900 S. Gordon xviii. 225
Now hurry up with that, because you've got to—you know what.
1965 24 Oct. 18/5
Looks like a sea gull flew over your head and you-know-whatted!
1991 S. Baker in xi. 218
He seems to know that it takes two to you-know-what.
1580 G. Harvey in E. Spenser & G. Harvey 40
I pray now, what saith M. Cuddie, alias you know who, in the tenth Ӕglogue of the foresaid famous new Calender?
1624 J. Reynolds 88
Continue to sow Diuision in the Church of England, and rather augment then diminish your Pensions to you know whom.
1673 Bp. G. Burnet 164
It is one of the arts of you know whom, to fasten Tenets on men who judge these Tenets worthy of the highest Anathema.
1766 O. Goldsmith II. ix. 143
I danced last night with Lady G——, and could I forget you know whom, I might be perhaps successful.
1796 M. Edgeworth Barring Out in
Do nothing in this till we have consulted you know who about whether it's right or wrong.
1836 M. L. Hurlbut 246
I fancied myself in the situation of..you know whom.
1875 ‘G. Eliot’ 13 Jan.
I had a letter from ‘you know whom’ last night.
1912 C. Mackenzie xiii. 167
I don't think I'm jealous of you know who.
1978 J. Irving xviii. 390
Old You-Know-Who—the Under Toad, that's who, Helen thought.
1997 J. K. Rowling 10
You-Know-Who has gone at last!
1829 7 Feb. 237
I think we must make him, if we can, go to the—you know where—twice in the same evening.
1891 B. L. Farjeon 100
When I was bad in the country, an old woman sed..that if I didn't pray for salvation I should go to—you know where, sir.
1937 C. Day Lewis iii. 44
Never mind, kick him in the you know where—he's used to it.
1987 I. Rankin xii. 61
She thinks the sun shines out of his you-know-where.
2006 8 June 125/1
The event has a roster of bands capable of transporting you to a rumba club in you-know-where.
1885 ix. 204
What I principally like about your Lord Hartington is his you-be-damnedness.
1919 J. C. Snaith 276
A Joan of Arc profile overlaid by a general air of you-be-damnedness made an ideal picture postcard.
1887 R. Kipling Bank Fraud in 14 Apr. 4/2
He could never get over Reggie's look of youth, and ‘you be damned’ air.
1890 25 Oct. 584/1
She is too flagrant, too personal, too ‘you-be-damned’ (as it were), in her disregard of the proprieties by which the floral world is ruled.
1979 R. N. Patterson
You sit there with that you-be-damned expression.
2000 M. W. Summers 303
The ‘you-be-damned’ quality..dated at least to the days when as mayor he had plunged into the mortar and mud of a sewer ditch.
1899 R. Kipling 177
‘I was born there... It was called after my uncle.’ ‘Shut up—you and your uncle!’
1943 J. B. Priestley xxii. 172
I've told 'im... ‘You an' your Teds!’ I told 'im.
1955 E. Blishen i. 27
‘Progressing!’ He relished it. ‘You and your long words!’
1980 P. G. Winslow xiv. 171
Ah, you and your Colonel. Worms' meat, he is now.
2009 D. Silverman xxv. 181
He kicked himself, why do you do it? You and your big mouth.
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This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, March 2012; most recently modified version published online September 2021).
In this entry:
In other dictionaries:
- yorling, n.1679
- Yoruba, n. and adj.1841
- Yoshiwara, n.1870
- yote, n.1474
- yoted, adj.1483
- yoten, adj.OE
- yoting, n.a1382
- yotization, n.1936
- yotta-, comb. form1991
- you, pron., adj., an...eOE
- you, v.1564
- you-all, pron.1824
- you-alls, pron.11856
- you-all's, adj. and ...1856
- youdith, n.1723
- youf, v.c1686
- youing, n.1659
- Young, n.21934
- young, adj. and n.1eOE
- young, v.a1300
- young adult, n. and ...1762
- young at heart, adj....1836
- youngberry, n.1927
- young blood, n.1557
- Young dewberry, n.1925
- young-earth, adj.1979
- young England, n.1831
- younger, adj. and n.eOE
- youngerly, adj.1742
- youngerman, n.?c1300
- youngest, adj. and n.eOE
- young-eyed, adj.1600
- young fogey, n.1834
- young gun, n.1822
- younghead, n.1a1300
- young head, n.21565
- Young–Helmholtz, n.1878
- Young Ireland, n.1843
- youngish, adj.1667
- young lady, n.a1393