Words that don’t mean “yeah”

I’ll happily admit that with predictive text and the speed at which I write, I often have a few typos in a lot of things I do. I might be 41 years old but I still haven’t quite mastered apostrophe’s either (did you see what I did there?).

Still, one thing that winds me up more than it necessarily should are people who can’t spell “yeah” correctly. I know, I know, pulling someone up on using a slang word that is a more informal “yes” is more than a bit petty but that’s how my brain is wired. It’s also likely that my irritation is partly due to knowing what the incorrectly used words actually mean and how they’re pronounced.


exclamation & noun
non-standard spelling of yes, representing informal pronunciation.

Not a tricky one, there is even a band named after it.


archaic formal
“she has the right to say yea or nay”

an affirmative answer.
“the British government would give the final yea or nay”

In a sense it does mean the same as yeah but at the opposite end of the linguistic spectrum. It’s formal, and archaic, isn’t an alternative spelling of yeah, and it’s pronounced differently. Still it’s not as odd as…


archaic dialect
plural form of thou
“gather ye rosebuds, while ye may”

pseudo-archaic term for the.
“Ye Olde Cock Tavern”

Let me assume that nobody really uses ye as the plural of thou.  If you use yea instead of yeah, I hear you typing to me like a town crier: “Hear ye, hear ye” and that sound’s odd to me.

The origin of ye as an alternative to the is actually quite interesting and comes down to a lost letter in the alphabet, thorn; in late Middle English þ came to be written identically with y, so that the could be written ye . This spelling (usually ye) was kept as a convenient abbreviation in handwriting down to the 19th century, and in printers’ types during the 15th and 16th cents., but it was never pronounced as ‘ye’. Nevertheless, neither meaning is actually a synonym for yes or yeah.

So if you mean yeah, say yeah. Not ye or yea, but yeah!

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