Etymology
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yes (adv.)

Old English gise, gese "so be it!," probably from gea, ge "so" (see yea) + si "be it!," from Proto-Germanic *sijai-, from PIE *si-, optative stem of root *es- "to be." Originally stronger than simple yea. Used in Shakespeare mainly as an answer to negative questions. As a noun from 1712. Yes-man is first recorded 1912, American English.

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yeah 

American English, colloquial, by 1863, from drawling pronunciation of yes.

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yep 

by 1889, American English, variant of yes or yeah, altered for emphasis, or possibly influenced by nope.

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Y 

a late-developing letter in English. Called ipsilon in German, upsilon in Greek, the English name is of obscure origin. The sound at the beginning of yard, yes, yield, etc. is from Old English words with initial g- as in got and y- as in yet, which were considered the same sound and often transcribed as Ȝ, known as yogh. The system was altered by French scribes, who brought over the continental use of -g- and from the early 1200s used -y- and sometimes -gh- to replace Ȝ. The French also tended to substitute -y- for -i-, especially before -u-, -n-, or -m-, or at the end of words, to avoid confusion in reading (see U), might also partly explain this tendency in Middle English. As short for YMCA, etc., by 1915.

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*es- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be."

It forms all or part of: absence; absent; am; Bodhisattva; entity; essence; essential; essive; eu-; eucalyptus; Eucharist; Euclidean; Eudora; Eugene; eugenics; eulogy; Eunice; euphemism; euphoria; euthanasia; homoiousian; improve; interest; is; onto-; Parousia; present (adj.) "existing at the time;" present (n.2) "what is offered or given as a gift;" proud; quintessence; represent; satyagraha; sin; sooth; soothe; suttee; swastika; yes.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit asmi, Hittite eimi, Greek esti-, Latin est, Old Church Slavonic jesmi, Lithuanian esmi, Gothic imi, Old English eom, German ist.

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yessir 

1836, representing a quick reply of yes, sir, which is attested by 1799 and in 19c. writing was a typical phrase for restaurant waiters taking orders. Extended form yessiree is attested from 1846 (in U.S., siree for sir is attested from 1823).

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oui 

Modern French for "yes," from Old French oïl "yes," at first two words meaning "yes, he," or "yes, they," which gradually came to mean simply "yes." From the Latin phrase hoc ille "yes," literally "this he, so he" (did or said).

The French originally said "yes, I," "yes, you," "yes, we," etc., where the pronoun was the subject of an unexpressed verb easily supplied from the question. [C.H.C. Wright, "A History of French Literature," Haskell House, 1969]

Thus the o is from Latin hoc "this," and the rest of the word is from the Latin personal pronoun ille "he" (in Vulgar Latin illi which is also "they"). Old French also had o alone as "yes." Compare Languedoc.

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si 

"yes" in Italian and Spanish; in both instances from Latin sic "so" (see sic).

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yowza 

colloquial form of yes, sir, 1934, popularized by U.S. bandleader and radio personality Ben "The Old Maestro" Bernie (1891-1943).

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