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you, pron., adj., and n.

Keywords:
Quotations:
Pronunciation: 
Forms:  1. early Old English ieow, Old English iu (Mercian, rare), Old English iw (Northumbrian, rare), Old English–early Middle English eow, Old English (Mercian, rare)–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 ( Ormulum), 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 (northern, 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 and nonstandard) yoo, 1900s– yeh (Irish English); English regional 1800s o' (Lancashire), 1800s ow (Yorkshire), 1800s yar (Lincolnshire), 1800s yau (Lancashire), 1800s yay (Cheshire), 1800s yeou (Shropshire), 1800s yeue (Devon), 1800s– oo (Cheshire), 1800s– yah, 1800s– yaw (Lincolnshire), 1800s– yeaow (north-east midlands), 1800s– yeow (East Anglian), 1800s– yew (south-western), 1800s– yo' (Yorkshire), 1800s– yoa, 1800s– yoo (chiefly northern), 1800s– yow, 1900s– yeh (Yorkshire), 1900s– yu (Devon); U.S. regional 1800s yaou, 1900s– y'u; Scottish pre-1700 ȝew, 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– yea, 1900s– yew, 1900s– yue. 2. Combined (in contracted form) with a preceding or following word (usually a verb). a. Proclitic 1500s– y'-. b. Enclitic. English regional 1800s– -y, 1900s– -a, 1900s– -eh, 1900s– -ey. See also ya pron., yer pron., yew pron., yo pron., yuh pron.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with (as accusative and dative of the second person plural personal pronoun) Old Frisian iu  , io   (East Frisian (Saterland) jou  , (Wangeroog) jo  ), Old Dutch iu   (Middle Dutch u  , v  , Dutch u  ), Old Saxon iu  , eu   (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   to *ww  ) of a Germanic pronoun form reflected by Gothic izwis  , and also (with dissimilation of *zw   to *ðw  ) by Old Icelandic yðr   (Icelandic (honorific) yður  ), Faroese (honorific) tygum   (for *tyðum  ) (only as singular; also in subjective case), Norn (Shetland) dor  , Norwegian regional dår  , dør  , Norwegian (Bokmål) dere   (also in subjective case), Old Swedish iþer   (Swedish er  , (formal) eder  ), Old Danish ithær  , idher   (Danish jer  , (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  , sib  , 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 inc pron.).)
 
Originally the accusative and dative plural of the second personal pronoun: see thou pron. and n.1   for the full paradigm of the 2nd person pronoun in Old English. There have been two major changes in the use of you pron.:
 
(i) Use as a plural subject form (see sense A. 4), in place of ye pron.   This process apparently began in the 14th cent., and you pron.   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 A. 5) and later also as a subject form (see sense A. 7). 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 ye pron.   (before its replacement by you pron.) and your pron., and see further discussion below.
Form history.
 
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   and ēo   (the final -w   is apparently by analogy with the genitive form ēower  ); spellings such as Mercian iu, Northumbrian iw   (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 your pron. and adj., your adj.   (already in Old English; compare geower, geowr- at your pron. and adj. Forms), and are apparently after ye pron.   In early Middle English the initial palatal absorbed the first element of the diphthong /iu/ (the regular reflex of Old English ēo   plus w  ), 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 ȝuw   in the Ormulum). Middle English long ū   thus produced was subject to regular diphthongization to // 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. new adj., true adj.) 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 ye pron.   For graphic representations of unstressed variants see also ya pron., yer pron., yuh pron., and compare also yo pron.  
 
In combination with a following word (compare Forms 2a) frequently with contracted verbs, where an apostrophe is now standard (e.g. you're  , you'll  ).
 
Distinctive forms of the accusative in Old English and other Germanic languages.
 
Beside ēow  , Old English also had a form ēowic   (Northumbrian īuh  , īuih  , īowih  , etc.), cognate with or formed similarly to Old Dutch iuch  , iuich  , 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 me pron.1   and þec   at thee pron. and n.2). 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   and īuh   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 (1965) 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].
OE   Andreas (1932) 259   Hwanon eagorstream ofer yða gewealc eowic brohte?
In Old Frisian a form compounded with man  man n.1   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  , iemma   (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 A. 4   and ye pron. 4. 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 A. 4) perhaps compare Old English use of ēow selfe   in apposition to   or after a verb in the imperative (see discussion at yourself pron.).
 
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 (1914) 1   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. (Tanner) 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 ye pron. 3, your adj. 1a(b), and branch A. II.   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 thou pron. and n.1   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   and y   are not distinguished (or, less commonly, the functions of the letters are confused; compare the northern Middle English form þow, and see M. Benskin ‘The letter <þ> and <y> in later middle English, and some related matters’ in Jrnl. Soc. Archivists 7 (1982) 13-30, and also the discussion at th n.1).
 
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   and y   belong to this entry or to thou pron.   (and similarly with objectival uses of ye pron.   in relation to subjectival uses of thee pron.). Quotations from these sources (with editorial forms like þou  , þow  , you  , yow  , etc.) have only been used in this entry or at thou pron.   when the grammatical number is made unambiguous by the context (normally by the verb form or presence of a possessive adjective; compare γ. forms at thou pron. and n.1   and the examples cited at that entry). Due to the interchangeability of y   and ȝ   in certain hands, occasional forms of thou pron.   in ȝ-   are also attested (see γ. forms at thou pron. and n.1). 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.
 A. pron. The objective case of the second person plural pronoun ye pron., representing the Old English accusative and dative.
 I. Used to address two or more persons, animals, or personified things.
 * As object.
 1.
 

 a. As direct object of a verb (originally accusative).

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) xxii. 173   Bioð simle gearwe..to forgiefanne ælcum ðara ðe iow ryhtlice bidde.
OE   Cynewulf Elene 551   Eow þeos cwen laþaþ, secgas to salore, þæt ge seonoðdomas rihte reccen.
a1161   Royal Charter: Henry II to Certain Bishops, Earls, Sheriffs, & Thegns in J. Hall Select. Early Middle Eng. (1920) I. 12   God geau gehealde.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 13   Ȝe beoð iscald [read iseald] eower feonde to prisune, Swa þet heo eow tintraȝed and heow iswenchet.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Vesp. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 233   Unwraste man, wat lacede ȝeu?
c1275   Kentish Serm. in J. Hall Select. Early Middle Eng. (1920) I. 219   Wat dret yw, folk of litle beliaue?
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 2720   Leou wer here ich eow [c1300 Otho ȝou] abide.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 2274   Æuere-mare ich æu leouie.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 9281   Ich þonke ȝou as ich wel aȝte [v.r. aute] do.
1389   in J. T. Smith & L. T. Smith Eng. Gilds (1870) 53   To certefyen ȝu of godes and chateux.
a1400   in F. J. Furnivall Polit., Relig., & Love Poems (1903) 254   I come to leden ou swiþe.
1450   in J. Stuart & G. Burnett Exchequer Rolls Scotl. (1882) V. 425 (note)    Oure will is and we charge yhw that [etc.].
c1475  (a1400)    Sir Amadace (Taylor) in J. Robson Three Early Eng. Metrical Romances (1842) 50   Butte, alle my men, I ȝo cummawunde, To serue him wele to fote and honde.
a1500  (?c1300)    Northern Passion (Harl. 215) l. 368 (MED)   In heuene ich wole ȝo [v.r. ȝhowe] cloþy & fede.
a1525  (▸1482)    Coventry Leet Bk. (1908) II. 504   Ryght trusty & wele-beloued, we grete yewe wele.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 15   To him I ȝow commit baith small and greit.
1607   T. Tomkis Lingua iv. i. sig. H2   I will be Iudicium, the moderator betwixt you, and make you both friends.
1690   N. Lee Massacre of Paris iii. ii. 19   Fat Porcpise Bauds, the Mermaids too of Honour, The Minim Pages, all the twinkling Host So fill'd, the Snare of Hell must crack to hold you.
1705   E. Hickeringill Priest-craft 2   They proclaim you to be Rebels to God, Horn you, (as in Scotland).
1766   O. Goldsmith Elegy Mad Dog in Vicar of Wakefield I. 175   Good people all, of every sort, Give ear unto my song; And if you find it wond'rous short, It cannot hold you long.
1848   W. M. Thackeray Vanity Fair lxii. 561   Fair scenes of peace and sunshine..who has ever seen you, that has not a grateful memory of those scenes of friendly repose and beauty?
1859   ‘G. Eliot’ Adam Bede I. i. ii. 43   The lost!..Sinners!..Ah! dear friends, does that mean you and me?
1922   Trans. Soc. Automotive Engineers 16 567   Some of you will think that we have built up too big an overhead for our equipment. I can only assure you that I have given you the honest result of our experiments and experience.
1960   ‘C. Keene’ Bungalow Myst. (rev. ed.) xx. 175   ‘I've been most eager to meet you two,’ she added, smiling. ‘How can I ever thank you for all you've done?’
2008   G. Niederhoffer Romantics xviii. 264   You're my best friends. I love you.

eOE—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. As indirect object (originally dative); ‘to you’.

OE (Mercian)   Rushw. Gospels: Matt. 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 De Consol. Philos. (Bodl.) (2009) 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 Vier Altenglische Predigten aus der Heterodoxen Trad. (Ph.D. diss., Freiburg) (1970) 443   Hu mugon we eow beran gewitnesse, þonne we mugen uneaðe us selfe beren gewitnesse of godum weorcum.
a1200   MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 117   Ich wile giu senden þe heuenliche frefringe.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 49   Nu we sculen heow sceawen hwilc hit is heom for to heren.
a1275  (?c1200)    Prov. Alfred (Trin. Cambr.) (1955) 72 (MED)   He ȝu wolde wissin of wiliche [read wisliche] þinges.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13234   Hit is eo [c1300 Otho ȝou] muchel scome þat ȝe wulleð at-sceken.
a1300  (?c1250)    Owl & Nightingale (Jesus Oxf.) (1935) 115 (MED)   Hit wes i don eu [c1275 Calig. ov] a loþe custe.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 10997   Ȝuf we doþ ou wrong wo ssal ou do riȝt?
c1390   Castle of Love (Vernon) (1967) l. 567   Ȝe habbeþ iherd as ich ow tolde, For-whi God þe world maken wolde.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 139   Sythen sal i tell yow [Fairf. ȝaw, Gött. ȝou] Of iacob and of esau.
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 3560   Here haf I shewed yhow, on Inglys, Som syns þat Saynt Austyn specifys.
1481   W. Caxton tr. Siege & Conqueste Jerusalem (1893) vi. 25   I shal shew yow one exampel.
1483  (▸1413)    tr. G. Deguileville Pilgrimage of Soul (Caxton) iv. v. f. lxj   I graunte you leue, seyth what yow semyth eueryche in his parte.
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. xii. 113   Now God gyf you care, Foles all sam! Sagh I neuer none so fare Bot the foles of Gotham.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 29   I will ȝow giue Eternall lyfe.
1640   R. Brome Antipodes sig. H4v   Ile give you halfe a dozen At the next Ale-house, to set all right.
1660   Exact Accompt Trial Regicides 10   Gentlemen, Let me tell you what our Law-books say.
1722   D. Defoe Jrnl. Plague Year 151   I tell you, that..we have not made use of the barn.
1793   R. Burns On Rodney's Victory 1   Instead of a Song, boys, I'll give you a toast.
1859   C. Kingsley Good News of God xiii   I preach to you a Spirit..who has given you all the life you have.
1896   Argosy Feb. 498/2   What do you intend to do with us?..Give you the witch's parole.
1917   Overland Monthly 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 One Man's War xxi. 169   I tell you all this story to show you that collisions actually happened.
2002   S. E. Gutstein & R. K. Sheely Relationship Devel. Intervention (2004) 111   Class, I want to tell you how proud I am.

OE—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

 c. As the object of a preposition.

OE (Mercian)   Rushw. Gospels: Matt. xii. 28   Igitur peruenit in uos regnum dei : þonne uel cuþlice becymeþ in eow [OE Lindisf. iuih] rice godes.
OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) i. 185   Ic wylle settan min wed betux me & eow.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 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 Minor Poems Vernon MS (1901) ii. 774 (MED)   Lokeþ..Wat ich for ou ouþe.
c1300   St. Patrick's Purgatory (Laud) 612 in C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 218   Ȝif ich fram eov wende, A-drad ich am of þe feondene miȝte.
c1330  (a1250)    Harrowing of Hell (Auch.) (1907) 141 (MED)   Helle ȝates, y com ȝou to, now ich wil þat ȝe vndo.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) John xviii. 39   It is a custom to ȝou, that I delyuer oon to ȝou in pask.
c1475  (?c1400)    Apol. Lollard Doctr. (1842) 1   I witnes bifor God Almiȝty, and alle trewe cristunmen and wommen, and ȝowe.
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. xx. 241   And I in you, and ye in me.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 31   Mark weill..How Christis croce, is for ȝow meit.
c1600   Wriothesley's Chron. Eng. (1875) I. 42   Longe to reigne over yow.
1616   B. Jonson Epicœne v. iii, in Wks. I. 591   That it be not strange to you, I will tell you.  View more context for this quotation
1693   W. Bowles tr. Juvenal in J. Dryden et al. tr. Juvenal Satires v. 80   Will any Freedom here from you be born, Whose Cloaths are thred-bare.
1722   D. Defoe Jrnl. Plague Year 152   The Danger is as great from you to us, as from us to you.
1793   Northern Star (Belfast) 16 Jan. 1/3   How could any of you..behold two thirds of your Conntrymen [sic], miserable, oppressed and naked?
1821   W. Scott Kenilworth I. i. 14   Here's an unbelieving Pagan for you, gentlemen!
1896   ‘Mrs. Forrester’ Harlow's Ideal 46   You have killed me between you.
1919   Amer. Jrnl. Insanity 76 169   You brought your wives with you.
1958   C. Achebe Things fall Apart xviii. 144   It is only eighteen months since the Seed was first sown among you.
1996   M. K. Blakely Red, White, & oh so Blue 89   I know that some of you will be jet-lagged.

OE—1996(Hide quotations)

 

 2. reflexive. As direct object: yourselves (archaic in later use). As indirect object: ‘to or for yourselves’ (now colloquial (chiefly U.S. regional)).

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) liv. 421   Aðweað iow, ðæt ge sin clæne.
OE   Paris Psalter (1932) lxi. 11   Nyllan ge eow on heortan þa hige staðelian.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 5273   Þatt iss min bode word. tatt ȝe. Ȝuw lufenn swa bitwenenn. Rihht alls icc hafe lufedd ȝuw.
a1225   MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 73   Wascheð ou and wonieð clene.
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Bodl.) (1981) 510 (MED)   Ne drede ȝe ow nawiht.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13200   Cnihtes fareð eou aȝæin.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 3725   Ȝarewieð eow [c1300 Otho Greiþeh ow] to fihte.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 106   Haldes ow stille.
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 3689   Demys ȝow na better in ȝour doyng Þan othir of þe same leuyng.
1489  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) i. 92   Haid ȝe wmbethocht ȝow enkrely, Quhat perell to ȝow mycht apper.
a1500  (?c1300)    Bevis of Hampton (Cambr.) l. 142   Ye shall yow howse And sone aftur þou shalt be hur spowse.
c1560   A. Scott Poems (S.T.S.) iv. 103   I will nocht brek my brane, Suppois ȝe sowld mischeif ȝow.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) i. i. 1   Hence: home you idle Creatures, get you home.  View more context for this quotation
1697   J. Vanbrugh Provok'd Wife iii. 27   Get you gone..you confederating Strumpets you.
1734   H. Fielding Intrig. Chambermaid i. iii. 8   Hist! hist! get you both about your Business.
1871   J. N. Coleman tr. Poem of Job (ed. 2) 45   But as for you all, get you hence and be gone.
1881   W. S. Gilbert Patience i. 18   Now tell us, we pray you, Why thus you array you.
1911   J. R. Crawford Lovely Peggy 111   Get you behind me, ladies.
1973   L. Smith Fancy Strut xxvi. 254   You all get you a drink and join the party.
1991   D. W. Louie in D. Henry Breaking into Print 179   You two are naturals with my two [children]. You should get you some of your own.

eOE—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 ** As object or subject.
 

 3. Defined or made precise by a qualifying word or phrase. Cf. we pron. 1c, us pron. 2.

OE   Ælfric Lives of Saints (Julius) (1881) I. 38   Ic for Cristes lufe forlæt eow ealle, and middaneardlice lustas swa swa meox forseah.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xxiii. 13   Wa eow bocyras & Pharisei, liccetteras, forþam ge belucað heofona rice beforan mannum.
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Royal) (1981) 593   Swa þet te mihte & te mot of an so meoke meiden schal meistren ow alle.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 2719   & ȝif ȝe þis nulleð alle ich ȝeow [c1300 Otho ȝou] aquelle.
c1330  (?a1300)    Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 2184 (MED)   Loke now on aday And blod lat ȝou þre.
c1400  (?a1387)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Huntington HM 137) (1873) C. xi. l. 28 (MED)   He [sc. Dowel] ys nat alway at hom among ȝow Freres.
c1450  (c1350)    Alexander & Dindimus (Bodl.) (1929) l. 65 (MED)   I have founde ȝou folk faiþful of speche.
1485   Malory's Morte Darthur (Caxton) x. lv. sig. Fiiijv   Is þt the rule of yow arraunt knyghtes for to make a knyght to Iuste will he or nyll.
1549   M. Coverdale et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. II. Phil. i. f. ii   I longe after you all, from the very hart rote in Iesus Christ.
a1596   Sir Thomas More (1911) i. i. 120   If you men durst not vndertake it, before God, we women would.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) iii. iii. 69   You three From Millane did supplant good Prospero.  View more context for this quotation
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost iv. 382   Hell shall unfould, To entertain you two, her widest Gates.  View more context for this quotation
1720   D. Defoe Mem. Cavalier 65   You English Gentlemen..are too forward in the Wars.
1760   S. Foote Minor i. 12   You cockneys now beat us suburbians at our own weapons.
1837   C. Dickens Pickwick Papers xlv. 497   If you law gentlemen do these things on speculation.
1884   ‘E. Lyall’ We Two II. v. 115   You don't know how I love you all.
1920   ‘K. Mansfield’ Let. 31 Jan. (1993) III. 201   I shall bring you both a mug with Souvenir de Menton on it.
1965   B. Kaufman Up Down Staircase xii. 82   You teachers are all alike.
1982   P. Redmond Brookside (Mersey TV transmission script) (O.E.D. Archive) Episode 5. 46   Reckons you lot have sold out.
1994   S. Braude Mpho's Search ix. 50   As for the rest of you chaps—scoot—into bed. Lights out in ten minutes.

OE—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 *** As subject, replacing ye pron.
 4.
 

 a. As subject.In early examples perhaps showing transmission errors.

?1316   Short Metrical Chron. (Royal) l. 333 in J. Ritson Anc. Eng. Metrical Romanceës (1802) II. 284 (MED)   At Stonhenges, wite ou [v.r. ȝe] wel, Ther he hit made everuch del.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Gött.) l. 23160   Do fleis heþen, ȝe maledight! Vnto mi blis haf ȝue [a1400 Trin. Cambr. ȝe, a1400 Fairf. ȝe] na right.
a1500  (a1400)    Ipomedon (Chetham) (1889) l. 1808 (MED)   Ye shew your lady lyttille love That you so herttly preysse.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection i. sig. Ciiv   What ye rede, se you practise it in lyfe and dede.
c1540  (?a1400)    Destr. Troy 7600   And, as yo [sc. Æneas and Hector] counsell in the cas, I comaund be done.
1582   Bible (Rheims) Matt. v. 47   And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more?
1611   Bible (King James) Ruth i. 11   Turne againe, my daughters; Why will you goe with mee?  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) i. iii. 45   Mac. Speake if you can: what are you?  View more context for this quotation
1637   Bk. Common Prayer Church of Scotl. Publique Baptisme Exhort.   Friends, you heare in this Gospel the words of our Saviour Christ.
1652   E. Benlowes Theophila vi. lxxiii. 90   Pure, scientifick and illustrious Spirits You'are.
1722   D. Defoe Jrnl. Plague Year 151   And do you assure us that you are all Sound Men?
1778   J. Robertson Heroine of Love ii. 23   So, so, girls, you're entertaining each other with love and truth.
1811   A. de Beauclerc Ora & Juliet IV. 185   But wont you have some cake, ladies, before the weddingers come to church?
1868   A. Helps Realmah I. xiii. 157   I declare you are all very unkind to me.
1923   Amherst Graduates' Q. Aug. 231   Soon, very soon, you will be marching out with your diplomas in your hands.
1970   N.Y. Mag. 12 Jan. 38/3   Don't get excited ladies. You're perfectly safe.
2007   M. Hess Bright Fire iv. 56   Meet me here with your boss at nine-thirty. You'll need your passports for ID.

?1316—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. As vocative, chiefly in apposition to a following noun or noun phrase.

?1570   T. Preston Lamentable Trag. Cambises sig. Fv   Farwel you Ladyes of the Court.
1597   W. Shakespeare Richard III i. iii. 158   Heare me you wrangling Pyrats that fall out, In sharing that which you haue pild from me.  View more context for this quotation
1658   A. Cokayne Trappolin v. v, in Small Poems 523   You Lords of Florence, wise Machavil, and You Lord Barbarino, will you never come Out of this frenzie?
1694   W. Westmacott Θεολοβοτονολογια 65   Mark that, you women, and morphew'd ladies.
1716   B. Griffin Humours of Purgatory ii. 29   Do if you dare! you abominable slandering Villains!
1799   R. B. Sheridan Pizarro ii. ii   And you, my daughters,..away to the appointed place of safety.
1846   C. Dickens Dombey & Son (1848) v. 38   ‘Oh you beauties!’ cried Susan Nipper, affecting to salute the door by which the two ladies had departed.
1871   B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues I. 34   You sirs, I said, what are you conspiring about?
1885   Ld. Tennyson Fleet i   You, you, if you shall fail to understand, What England is,..On you will come the curse of all the land.
1905   Every other Sunday 15 Jan. 78/2   Here, Bose, Tiger, Boxer, come here this minute! Come here, you dogs!
1920   ‘K. Mansfield’ Let. 31 Jan. (1993) III. 201   Oh, you darlings—how I shall love to pop eyes on you again.
1975   H. Scheub in R. M. Dorson Folktales told around World (1978) 402   You! Children of the duiker! Please throw a small rope to me.
2004   D. Sinclair Wannabe i. 9   You guys, you shouldn't be working now.

?1570—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 II. 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 thou pron. and n.1).
 * As object, replacing thee pron.
 5.
 

 a. As indirect object; ‘to you’.

a1275   in C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 30 (MED)   Þus is vriten in þe gospelle, min suete vrend, asse ic ou telle.
a1300   in C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 71 (MED)   Hit is feyrure of feole volde more þan ich eu telle con.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) 2260   Louerd..Gur siluer is gu brogt a-gon.
1471   M. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 354   I can yw thanke fore ywyre letter that ye sente me.
c1480  (a1400)    St. John Evangelist 643 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 127   Myn lord,..þis ringe, þat [I] yu present now, me gafe a pilgram to gyf ȝow.
1567   R. Sempill in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. 33   My Lord, ane taikin I ȝow plycht.
1594   W. Shakespeare Titus Andronicus i. i. 396   So Bascianus, you haue plaid your prize, God giue you ioy sir of your gallant Bride.
1646   in Hamilton Papers (1880) 114   The drawing of that whereof the copy is sent yow.
1697   J. Vanbrugh Provok'd Wife ii. 20   Const. I'll hold you a Guinea you don't make her tell it you. Sir J. I'll hold you a Guinea I do.
1749   H. Fielding Tom Jones III. vii. viii. 61   Let me tell you that.  View more context for this quotation
1788   E. Pendleton Let. 14 June in Lett. & Papers (1967) II. 535   I thought I had in the beginning made My Apology for not having sooner paid you my respects.
1826   W. Scott Woodstock II. vi. 168   ‘Hold, woman, hold!’ said Alice Lee; ‘the dog will not do you harm.’
1898   Tit-bits 11 June 201/1   Well, pop, since I'm your father, I'm going to give you a ticket to the circus.
1914   T. S. Eliot Let. 8 Sept. (1988) I. 54   I will ask my tailor to send you some samples at once.
1972   G. M. Brown Greenvoe (1976) iii. 73   I'll tell you this, Johnny, you've fairly cheered me up.
1990   Quarterly (U.S.) Winter 36   He done you wrong and you're all weepy.

a1275—1990(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. As the object of a preposition.

c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) 2799 (MED)   Leuedi..we ayen you haue be fikel.
c1390  (c1300)    MS Vernon Homilies in Archiv f. das Studium der Neueren Sprachen (1877) 57 270 (MED)   But I beo deceyued, On ȝow þe childre I Conceyued.
a1425  (c1333–52)    L. Minot Poems (1914) 19   Oure men sall with ȝow mote.
a1450   St. Edith (Faust.) (1883) l. 2417   Me thouȝt þat assemely lady come me to..& badde þat y chulde heyȝe & to ȝow go.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Ninian 1123 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 336   Lord,..of þat land ȝet brocht haf I a man to ȝou as presonere.
1482   Ordinance Syon Libr. in Eng. Hist. Rev. (1910) 25 122   This owre ordinance made for yowe Thomas Raille nowe keper of þe said Brethernes locutorie.
a1500  (a1455)    in C. Monro Lett. Margaret of Anjou (1863) 124   Unto you that bene a member of chirche.
1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1888) I. 296   This goldne aple..J preparit and decoret vnto ȝow my Souerane.
1607   T. Tomkis Lingua 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 Ten Pleasures of Marriage x. 197   O, young House-Father, this is a most incomparable Pleasure for you!
1709   Lady M. W. Montagu Let. Nov. (1995) I. 20   You know people can never leave your company, or writing to you, without regret.
1780   Mirror No. 97   ‘Quantity of syllables,’ exclaimed the Captain, ‘there is a modern education for you!’
1803   R. Southey Select. from Lett. (1856) I. 166   Losing the chance of netting you at Oswestry, I have been in hopes of hearing from you.
1852   H. B. Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin II. xx. 35   I bought her, and I'll give her to you.
1919   J. Buchan Mr. Standfast 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 Run Baby Run ii. 28   Hey, look baby. I have something for you.
2005   T. Umrigar Space between Us (2007) xiv. 170   Pardon my saying so, Sera, but I've told you for years that Bhima will take advantage of you.

c1300—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

 c. As direct object of a verb.

a1325  (?c1300)    Northern Passion (Cambr. Gg.1.1) l. 1812 (MED)   Sire Pilate..Of o þing we warne yow.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 634   Madame,..nis it no sekenes bote þat so sore ȝouȝ eiles, I schal þurth craft þat ich kan keuer ȝou i hope.
a1400  (?a1325)    Medit. on Supper of our Lord (Harl.) (1875) 314   My wurschypful fadyr,..Here my bone..For sorowe my soule haþ ȝow soȝt.
a1450   York Plays (1885) 272   I beseke you my souerayne, assente to my sawes.
1508   Golagros & Gawane (Chepman & Myllar) sig. aiiii   To mak you lord of your avne me think it grete skill.
1584   King James VI & I Ess. Prentise Poesie sig. Kijv   I will also wish ȝow (docile Reidar) that or ȝe cummer ȝow with reiding thir reulis [etc.].
1587   in Publ. Catholic Rec. Soc. (1908) 5 138   I committ youe to the tuition of Jesu.
1600   W. Shakespeare Merchant of Venice iv. i. 331   A Daniell Iew, now infidell I haue you on the hip.  View more context for this quotation
1650   in F. P. Verney & M. M. Verney Mem. Verney Family 17th Cent. (1907) I. 465   If yew love your selfe, and those that love yew.
1699   G. Farquhar Love & Bottle iv. iii. 62   I had only a mind to convince you of your Squireship.
1749   H. Fielding Tom Jones IV. xii. iv. 213   Your Religion..serves you only for an Excuse for your Faults.  View more context for this quotation
1791   J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1777 II. 142   He [sc. Johnson] will not hear you.
1836   C. Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) ii. 24   It will afford me the greatest pleasure to know you, sir.
1857   Chambers's Jrnl. 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’ Cloud Howe iii. 157   Did he hurt you, Ewan?
1962   A. Ginsberg Let. 5 Aug. in A. Ginsberg & L. Ginsberg Family Business (2001) 180   I'm sorry I was not there to comfort you.
1991   A. Campbell Sidewinder i. 13   ‘I could eat you,’ I murmur, hungrily. I make a grab for her and nibble her ear.

a1325—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 

 d. As dative of interest; ‘for you’.

a1425  (c1333–52)    L. Minot Poems (1914) 18   No bowes now thar ȝow bende; Of blis ȝe er all bare.
c1475   Mankind (1969) l. 232 (MED)   Intende well, and Gode wyll be yow adjutory.
a1529   J. Skelton Magnyfycence (?1530) sig. Giiiv   Nowe must I make you a lectuary softe.
1580   T. Lupton Siuqila (new ed.) 130   Your lye wil neither gain you lease nor lande.
1592   T. Kyd Spanish Trag. iii. sig. F4v   I..Bought you a whistle and a whipstalke too.
1603   W. Shakespeare Hamlet 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 Copies Certaine Lett. xii. 162   Vnto him..I doe..commend you: and rest you, Your very louing brother.
1713   J. Addison Cato ii. v. 27   I've offer'd To..gain you whom you love at any Price.
1791   Good Mother-in-law i. 13   If your own mamma had been alive, she would have bought you a rocking horse.
1831   E. J. Trelawny Adventures Younger Son I. 290   I have ordered the boy to make you some congee.
1891   Argosy 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 Smoking Leg 26   There you are, old horse; don't say I never did you a good turn.
1959   Woman's Own 6 June 12/1   If you're not in a hurry will you let me buy you a coffee?
2005   Daily Tel. 27 Oct. 24/4   They'll cook you a perfect full English.

a1425—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

e. Used expletively (the so-called ‘ethic dative’). Cf. me pron.1 2d, ye pron. 4c. Obsolete.

1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream i. ii. 77   I wil roare you as gently, as any sucking doue: I will roare you, and 'twere any Nightingale.  View more context for this quotation
1789   H. Brooke Imposter ii. ii. 27   Now he will carry you nineteen kingdoms upon his own shoulders.
1878   ‘G. Eliot’ College Breakfast Party in Macmillan's Mag. July 169   Anti-social force that sweeps you down The world in one cascade of molecules.

1600—1878(Hide quotations)

 

 6. reflexive. As direct object: yourself (archaic in later use). As indirect object: ‘to or for yourself’ (now colloquial (chiefly U.S. regional)).

a1325  (?c1300)    Northern Passion (Cambr. Gg.1.1) l. 1811 (MED)   Sire Pilate, vndir stonde yow.
c1400  (?c1390)    Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 470 (MED)   Dere dame, to-day demay yow neuer.
c1440  (a1400)    Awntyrs Arthure (Thornton) l. 100   Thus he comforthede þe qwene..‘At this gaste,’ quod Sir Gaweayne, ‘greue ȝowe no more.’
a1450   St. Edith (Faust.) (1883) l. 3470   Seynt Ede..sayde: ‘syre kyng, drede ȝow nomore!’
c1500   Three Kings' Sons (1895) 29   Y thought that ye wolde kepe you nere aboute hym.
1568  (a1500)    Freiris Berwik 488 in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1930) IV. 275   And neir þe dur ȝe hyd ȝow prevely.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) iii. i. 18   Pray set it downe, and rest you..Pray now rest your selfe.  View more context for this quotation
1657   J. Watts Scribe, Pharisee Ep. to Rdr. sig. b2   Woman, get you home, and follow your own businesses of spinning and webbing.
1712   J. Arbuthnot Law is Bottomless-pit xii. 22   Get you gone into the Country to look after your Mothers Poultry.
1787   F. Grose Provinc. Gloss. Suppl.   Chesh. You are not so mad as you leeten you.
1841   C. Dickens Old Curiosity Shop i. iii. 86   Get you away now you have said your lesson.
1884   W. S. Gilbert Princess Ida iii   Coward! get you hence.
1908   F. M. Hueffer Fifth Queen Crowned ii. v. 208   ‘It is very late,’ she said, ‘you must get you gone.’
1960   E. Kelton Texas Rifles vii. 78   Nice to see you have found you some friends.
2009   K. Abel Down in Flood 136   Sounds like you need to get you some better clients. I gotta say, so far I ain't too impressed.

a1325—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 ** As subject, replacing thou n.2
 7.
 

 a. As subject.For use with was, as exemplified in quot. 1766, see be v.   etymology (2.12).For such phrases as you bet, you know, you see, etc.: see the verbs.

c1405  (c1395)    G. Chaucer Clerk's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 106   Lord..wel vs liketh yow And al youre werk.
a1470   T. Malory Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll. 13) (1990) II. 797   Wyte you well, sir knyght.
1489  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) vi. 659   Bot the gret part to ȝow tuk ȝe, That slew iiij off the fyve ȝow ane.
a1500  (?a1475)    Guy of Warwick (Cambr. Ff.2.38) l. 4192   ‘Syr Gye,’ he seyde,..‘To morowe schall yow weddyd bee.’
1555   R. Eden Two Viages into Guinea in tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worlde f. 350v   Ouer the sayde byght, yow shall se a great gappe in the mountayne.
a1596   Sir Thomas More (1911) i. ii. 194   Well, Maister Moore, you are a merie man.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost i. i. 53   You swore to that Berowne, and to the rest.  View more context for this quotation
1648   in S. R. Gardiner Hamilton Papers (1880) 236   Yow shall, if yow finde it necessary, goe from Holland to France, and deliver to the Queen's Majtie this our letter.
1676   G. Etherege Man of Mode 3   Here Eat this Peach, it comes from the Stone, 'tis Better than any Newington y'have tasted.
1699   G. Farquhar Love & Bottle ii. ii. 19   And what are you good Monsieur, sa, sa?
1740   S. Richardson Pamela I. xxxi. 163   Well, Jacob, what do you stare at! Pray mind what you're upon.
1766   J. Wesley Let. Apr. (1931) IV. 9   But if you was to be moved from your steadfastness, that would give me pain indeed.
1832   Ld. Tennyson Death of Old Year in Poems (new ed.) 155   Old year, you must not go... Old year, you shall not go.
1873   R. Browning Red Cotton Night-cap Country ii. 101   Well now, waive nonsense, you and I are boys No longer.
1889   R. Kipling From Sea to Sea (1899) I. 341   As a bell, y' know, it's rather a failure... They don't ring it properly.
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses iii. 574   They're full up for the next three weeks, man. God, you've to book ahead, man.
1970   S. Terkel Hard Times i. 42   I knocked on people's doors. They'd say, ‘What do you want? I'll call the police.’
2008   R. Drake Dead Place xvii. 185   I'm not accusing you of anything. You're the only one doing the accusing.

c1405—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. As vocative, chiefly in apposition to a following noun or noun phrase. Also in contexts expressing reproach of or contempt for the person addressed often emphasized by being placed or repeated after the noun. Cf. thou pron. 2.

c1500   Melusine (1895) 182   My lord and you my lady, yf ye vouchsaf it were tyme that we went thrugh the world at our auenture.
a1594   Edmond Ironside ii. ii   You lye you horesone Cuckold you bace vacabond you slave you mungrell peasant doulte and foole.
1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iii. ii. 289   Fy, fy, you counterfait, you puppet, you.  View more context for this quotation
1606   G. Chapman Gentleman Vsher iii. sig. D4v   You asse you, d'ee call my Lord horse?
1668   J. Dryden Sr Martin Mar-all v. 68   You old Sot you, to be caught so sillily!
1768   O. Goldsmith Good Natur'd Man ii. 27   And you have but too well succeeded, you little hussey, you.
a1794   M. Palmer Dialogue Devonshire Dial. (1839) 33   How unvitty and cat-handed you go about it, you dough-cake.
1840   W. M. Thackeray Catherine ix   You young hangdog, you!
1849   H. W. Herbert Frank Forester 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 Mem. (1904) I. 63   You scamp not to write before.
1919   B. Capes Skel. Key xxi. 273   ‘I love you for trying, you dear,’ he said.
1961   A. Wilson Old Men at Zoo v. 276   ‘We'll get you, you fucker!’ Barley was shouting.
1986   A. G. Mojtabai Blessèd Assurance 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 Full Dark House (2008) xxix. 159   She grabbed Harry's hand. ‘Come on, you. Let's lose the others, I don't want to talk about work tonight.’

c1500—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 *** As subject or object.
 

 8. Used to address any hearer or reader; (hence as an indefinite personal pronoun) any person, one (one pron. 17a).

c1555   Manifest Detection Diceplay sig. D.iiiiv   The verser who counterfeatith the gentilman commeth stoutly, and sittes at your elbowe, praing you to call him neare.
1567   in R. Pitcairn Criminal Trials Scotl. (1833) I. i. 495   Endlong the bak of the..garden, quhill ȝow cum to the Cunȝie-house, and the bak of the Stabillis, quhill ȝow com to the Cannogate.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry ii. f. 86   You shall sometime haue one branche more gallant then his fellowes.
1615   T. Tomkis Albumazar i. iii. sig. B4   With this [perspicill] Ile read a leafe of that small Iliade..as plainly Twelue long miles off, as you see Pauls from Highgate.
1625   F. Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 92   Nay more, you shall haue Atheists striue to get Disciples, as it fareth with other Sects.
1699   W. Dampier Voy. & Descr. ii. ii. 58   The Land as you go farther from the Sea..becomes of a more plantable Mould.
1707   London Gaz. No. 4351/3   One Red Buoy to the Eastward of you, as you pass this Chanel.
1726   J. Swift Gulliver I. ii. i. 21   A Child..began a Squall that you might have heard from London-Bridge to Chelsea.
1865   J. Ruskin Sesame & Lilies i. 65   You can talk a mob into anything.
1870   Good Words Feb. 133/2   The slope [is] so rapid that you can scarcely find footing when once off the beaten road.
1908   Summary 31 Oct. 8/1   When he arrives at a denouement it takes you by surprise. It is not what you have expected.
1977   J. Rosenthal Spend, Spend, Spend in Bar Mitzvah Boy & Other Television Plays (1987) 174   Seventeen years old, with a kid. I was only a kid myself! You enjoy yourself once..and that's what you get for it: bloody baby-minding for the rest of my life.
1985   Which Computer? Apr. 53/2   Even on a fully configured IBM PC..you can find yourself running out of workspace.
1994   T. Magistrale in J. P. Davis Stephen King's Amer. iii. i. 125   Maybe that's another way of defining what a classic piece of fiction is—something that stays with you.

c1555—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 

 9. Premodified by an adjective, as poor, lucky, etc.

1609   W. Shakespeare Sonnets lxxxvi. sig. F2v   Bound for the prize of (all-to-precious) you .  View more context for this quotation
1690   J. Dryden Don Sebastian Epil. 4   Poor I to be a Nun, poor You a Fryar.
1798   J. Carr tr. Lucian Dialogues IV. 115   Poor you, after a long circuit of up hill and down.., stop at last puffing and sweating.
1804   S. T. Coleridge Coll. Lett. (1956) II. 1116   The abrupt & violent Transitions from Grasmere and dear you to Liverpool, to London, to Drinkings & Discussings.
1895   ‘Mrs. Forrester’ Too Late Repented viii   ‘Oh’, muttered Ethel..‘poor you, poor you!’
1904   F. Whishaw Tiger of Muscovy xi. 95   How should poor little you deal with a maiden who dares to call the Tsar a bear?
1953   Billboard 19 Dec. 52/2 (title of song)    The Wonder of Wonderful You.
1965   J. Bingham Fragment of Fear iv. 49   ‘I have been successful.’..‘Good old you!’
1992   J. Torrington Swing Hammer Swing! xiv. 128   ‘If I get this job, I'm off to London,’ I told her. ‘Lucky old you.’

1609—1992(Hide quotations)

 
 B. adj.

 1. As possessive adjective: = your adj.   Now regional (chiefly Caribbean).In some instances, esp. in early quots., perhaps an error for your.

c1450   C. d'Orleans Poems (1941) 22 (MED)   Y ioy..In yow swet company.
a1500  (?a1450)    Gesta Romanorum (Gloucester) (1971) 762   Moche oþer folke..dyd..non' homage to yow [v.r. your] son'.
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 272   You rather will quarrel with God for not fulfilling you wills.
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 290   You make benefit thereof for you owne behoofe and content.
1874   J. A. Mathews Giuseppe's Home xi, in Dare to do Right 458   She is you own, dear Marie.
1877   H. G. Murray in F. G. Cassidy & R. B. Le Page Dict. Jamaican Eng. (1967) 174/1   Man you mout pretty! It dis faber a tun tomattis.
1888   F. T. Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk. (at cited word)   Very comm. in speaking to children. Jimmy, come over-n let me warsh you niddle 'ands. Lizzy, mind you don't dirt you pinny.
1967   E. Brathwaite Rights of Passage iv. 69   You crops start to die.
1984   A. F. Loewenstein This Place 1   Beat that mark of Cain off you head.

c1450—1984(Hide quotations)

 

 2. In predicative use: suited to or representative of your tastes, personality, etc.; appropriate for you. Cf. me adj.

1918   R. Fry Let. 12 Mar. (1972) II. 425   I've read your Lucretius... I feel sure it's both immensely him and also very much you.
1936   U. Orange Begin Again xi. 247   ‘I think it's lovely,’ said Jane unkindly, ‘So you, somehow.’
1960   N. Marsh False Scent viii. 232   The boudoir..had been created by Bertie... ‘Almost indecently you, darling!’ Bertie had told Miss Bellamy.
1981   M. Spark Loitering with Intent ii. 44   I thought your piece was very much you.
2009   D. P. Murphy Zombies for Zombies 123   Stay away from those fitted shirts. They are so not you.

1918—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 C. n.

 1. (An instance of) the word you.

1655   J. Howell 4th Vol. Familiar Lett. xix. 55   The Courtiers began to magnifie him, and treat him in the plural nomber by You, and by degrees to deifie him by transcending titles.
1669   W. Penn (title)    No cross, no crown: or several sober reasons against hat-honour, titular respects, you to a single person,..with testimonies of the most famous persons in defence of the poor despised Quakers.
1783   J. Beattie Diss. Moral & Crit. 339   In addressing one person..we, and many other modern nations, use the plural you.
1838   J. C. Hare & A. W. Hare Guesses at Truth (ed. 2) 1st Ser. 153   When you came into use among the higher classes, the lower were still addrest with thou.
1890   C. E. Stephen Quaker Strongholds 149   The ‘plain language’ best known as the use of thee and thou for you in speaking to one person.
1914   A. S. Johnson Professor & Petticoat xxviii. 295   I shall never forget the ghastly feeling I experienced as Doby read on, emphasising the ‘yous’ and ‘loves’ with his fist.
1994   Computers & Humanities 28 77/2   There is..a different ratio of ‘thou’ to ‘you’ forms.
1998   T. Crook Internat. Radio Journalism iii. 163   Never mix your yous with your ones.

1655—1998(Hide quotations)

 

 2. The person being addressed; the personality, or an aspect of the personality, of the one addressed.

1690   J. Dryden Amphitryon iii. 27   You, my Lord Amphitryon, may have brought forth another You my Lord Amphitryon..and our Diamonds may have procreated these Diamonds.
1700   J. Dryden To Dutchess of Ormond in Fables sig. A4v   Or Heav'n..So lik'd the Frame, he would not work anew, To save the Charges of another You.
1735   J. Swift Receipt to Stella in Wks. II. 219   If your Flesh and Blood be new, You'll be no more your former You.
1796   tr. M.-J. Roland Appeal to Impartial Posterity (ed. 2) II. iv. 204   Do you..resemble the you of three years ago?
1882   A. de Fonblanque Blackest of Lies II. 238   A man who is a thousand times dead; who is no more the you who stand before me now, than your great-grandfather.
1920   Association Men Mar. 406/2   Some of the yous in you have some use for a church, like some of the mes in me.
1964   ‘E. Lathen’ Accounting for Murder (1965) xv. 142   We run tests... Then, once we had really found the real you, we..would try to find a place that provided a challenge to your best creative talents.
1974   Spartanburg (S. Carolina) Herald 25 Apr. a5 (advt.)    Vicaltein can be your ticket to a newer, slimmer you.
2001   G. Keillor in Time 10 Sept. 94/2   Now you become the you you were afraid the world would find out about.

1690—2001(Hide quotations)

 

Phrases

 

 P1. you and yours: see yours pron. 3a.

 

P2. you wot what: = you-know-what at Phrases 3a(a). Obsolete.

1536   H. Latimer Let. 12 July in J. Gairdner Lett. & Papers Reign Henry VIII (1888) (modernized text) XI. 33   As touching you wot what, I have written again.
1545   R. Ascham Toxophilus ii. f. 29v   As though they were doyng you wotte what.
1602   R. Marbecke Def. Tabacco 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.
1641   Canterbury's Will 5   As the Priest said, when he did you wot what.

1536—1641(Hide quotations)

 
 P3. colloquial. Cf. know v. Phrases 1a(e).
 a. Frequently euphemistic.

 (a) you-know-what: used in place of something the speaker is unable or does not care to specify.

1564   W. Bullein Dialogue against Fever Pestilence 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 Genuine Remains (1759) I. 165   Who made a general Council regulate Mens catching Women by the—you know what.
1710   J. Swift Jrnl. to Stella 7 Oct. (1948) I. 47   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   Commerc. Trav. Mag. 2 240   First give me, Marguerite, just a little drop of you know what. I'm quite husky.
1869   A. Trollope Phineas Finn 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 Self Portrait with Friends (1979) xvii. 228   There was I, trying to get the trays ready for everybody—with Marguerite in bed ill having her you-know-whats.
1975   E. Clinton Benefit of Doubt (1983) 81   You-know-who would be very you-know-what.
1981   ‘Q. Crisp’ How to become Virgin 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   Orange Coast May 338/2   Relationships are a pain in the you-know-what.

1564—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

 (b) to you-know-what: to do something the speaker is unable or does not care to specify.

1605   W. Camden Remaines i. 26   Κακάω, to you know what.
1732   H. Fielding Mock Doctor 12   Sir, let me beseech you to conceal your self no longer, and oblige us to you know what.
1884   Family Churchman 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 Sons of Covenant xviii. 225   Now hurry up with that, because you've got to—you know what.
1965   Hutchinson (Kansas) News 24 Oct. 18/5   Looks like a sea gull flew over your head and you-know-whatted!
1991   S. Baker in In Another Country xi. 218   He seems to know that it takes two to you-know-what.

1605—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 b.

  you-know-who   n. (also you-know-whom) a deliberately unnamed person whose identity is (assumed to be) understood by the hearer; also with capital initials.

1580   G. Harvey in E. Spenser & G. Harvey Three Proper & Wittie Lett. 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 Vox Cœli 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 Vindic. Church & State Scotl. 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 Vicar of Wakefield 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 Parent's Assistant (ed. 2) I. 174   Do nothing in this till we have consulted you know who about whether it's right or wrong.
1836   M. L. Hurlbut Ciceronis Epistolae 246   I fancied myself in the situation of..you know whom.
1875   ‘G. Eliot’ Let. 13 Jan. (1956) VI. 116   I had a letter from ‘you know whom’ last night.
1912   C. Mackenzie Carnival xiii. 167   I don't think I'm jealous of you know who.
1978   J. Irving World according to Garp xviii. 390   Old You-Know-Who—the Under Toad, that's who, Helen thought.
1997   J. K. Rowling Harry Potter & Philosopher's Stone 10   You-Know-Who has gone at last!

1580—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 c.

  you-know-where   n. a place the speaker is unable or does not care to specify; frequently euphemistic.

1829   Critic (N.Y.) 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 Shield of Love 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 Starting Point iii. 44   Never mind, kick him in the you know where—he's used to it.
1987   I. Rankin Knots & Crosses xii. 61   She thinks the sun shines out of his you-know-where.
2006   Time Out N.Y. 8 June 125/1   The event has a roster of bands capable of transporting you to a rumba club in you-know-where.

1829—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 P4.
 a.

  you-be-damnedness   n. now rare a character or quality characterized by the phrase ‘you be damned’; defiant indifference or independence.

1885   Society in London ix. 204   What I principally like about your Lord Hartington is his you-be-damnedness.
1919   J. C. Snaith Undefeated 276   A Joan of Arc profile overlaid by a general air of you-be-damnedness made an ideal picture postcard.

1885—1919(Hide quotations)

 
 b.

  you-be-damned adj. that expresses or is characterized by the phrase ‘you be damned’; defiantly indifferent or independent.

1887   R. Kipling Bank Fraud in Civil & Mil. Gaz. 14 Apr. 4/2   He could never get over Reggie's look of youth, and ‘you be damned’ air.
1890   Scots Observer 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 Lasko Tangent (1980) 213   You sit there with that you-be-damned expression.
2000   M. W. Summers Rum, Romanism & Rebellion 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.

1887—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 P5. colloquial. you and your —— : expressing exasperation or amusement at the person addressed in regard to a particular aspect of his or her behaviour or personality. Cf. me and my —— at me pron.1 6f.

1899   R. Kipling Stalky & Co. 177   ‘I was born there... It was called after my uncle.’ ‘Shut up—you and your uncle!’
1943   J. B. Priestley Daylight on Sat. xxii. 172   I've told 'im... ‘You an' your Teds!’ I told 'im.
1955   E. Blishen Roaring Boys i. 27   ‘Progressing!’ He relished it. ‘You and your long words!’
1980   P. G. Winslow Counsellor Heart xiv. 171   Ah, you and your Colonel. Worms' meat, he is now.
2009   D. Silverman Twinkle xxv. 181   He kicked himself, why do you do it? You and your big mouth.

1899—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

 P6. you and who else?: see who pron. and n. Phrases 3a.

 
 

 P7. you and whose army?: see army n. Phrases 2.

 

This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, March 2012; most recently modified version published online September 2021).

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