[Ads-l] antedating "yay"

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Sep 24 06:06:04 EDT 2021


I've always assumed that the interjection "yay" represented a misspelling (or respelling) of "yea."

--Charlie
________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021 4:48 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: antedating "yay"

[EXTERNAL SENDER - PROCEED CAUTIOUSLY]


Below is a longer excerpt from the 1898 citation. This citation may
show a transition of "Yeah" from the sense "Yes" to the sense "An
exclamation of triumph, approval, or encouragement".

Date: August 28, 1898
Newspaper: The Sunday State Journal (Nebraska State Journal)
Newspaper Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Article: Arrive While Fight Is On
Quote Page 11, Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com/image/333758867/?terms=Yeah

[Begin excerpt]
First came the news that dispatches could only be received from Hong Kong.
"Yes, Yes," from a thousand throats, while as many immediately commanded "Hush!"
"An aggressive warfare is being carried on in Cuba. In a combined sea
and land attack on Santiago de Cuba from four to six thousand
Spaniards were lost—get that?"
"Yeah—hooray—hip-hip—4,600 Spaniards—hooray—"
"And 800 Americans—"
"Oooh"—and then in a cry of rage and anger—"To hell with Spain."
"A fleet has sailed from America for Spain"
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 4:26 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Interesting topic, Ben. Below is an instance of "Yeah—hooray—hip-hip"
> in 1898, and "yeah" appears to be functioning as an alternative
> spelling for the exclamation "yay".
>
> The OED lists "yeah" as an adverb with the sense "Yes"; first citation
> in 1863. But I didn't see "yeah" as an alternate spelling for "yay".
>
> Date: August 28, 1898
> Newspaper: The Sunday State Journal (Nebraska State Journal)
> Newspaper Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
> Article: Arrive While Fight Is On
> Quote Page 11, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> "Yeah—hooray—hip-hip—4,600 Spaniards—hooray—"
> "And 800 Americans—"
> "Oooh"—and then in a cry of rage and anger—"To hell with Spain."
> "A fleet has sailed from America for Spain"
> [End excerpt]
>
> Below is a "Yeah! Hooray!" in 1906 although the date should be double checked.
>
> Year: Copyright 1906 (Juvenile series; date should be double checked)
> Book Title: Captain Jack Lorimer: Or, The Young Athletes of Millvale High
> Author: Winn Standish (Walter Leon Sawyer)
> Chapter 35: Tried by the Test of Defeat
> Quote Page 230
> Publisher: A. L. Burt Company, New York.
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=LtcqAAAAYAAJ&q=Yeah#v=snippet&
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> "And —  say — you're goin to have a chance, by gum! Say, didn't your
> Bussey, the long-legged countryman, score a goal then? Yeah! Hooray!
> Hooray for our side!" The old man finished with a roar that made every
> one turn smilingly to look.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 2:05 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > In a recent episode of the Merriam-Webster podcast "Words Matter," Emily
> > Brewster mentions that the interjection "yay" has only been dated by M-W to
> > 1963, surprisingly enough. (OED3's earliest cite is from the same year.)
> >
> > https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-matters-podcast/episode-56-compound-words
> >
> > On Twitter, Daniel Radosh noted that "yay hooray" appears in the 1954 Marc
> > Blitzstein translation of "The Wedding Song" from "The Threepenny Opera."
> > https://twitter.com/danielradosh/status/1441208269112954880
> >
> > Inspired by this, I managed to find examples of "yay" collocating with
> > "hooray" from the 1920s, in Martin Branner's comic strip "Winnie Winkle."
> > In both of these cites, the characters are young children celebrating among
> > themselves.
> >
> > ---
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/85888992/yay-fellers/
> > "Winnie Winkle," Chicago Tribune, June 4, 1922, Comics, p. 2
> > "Yay, fellers! My pop's gonna umpire th' game for us!"
> > "Hooray for Perry Winkle!"
> > ---
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/85889664/yay-muggsy/
> > "Winnie Winkle," Kansas City Star, June 13, 1926, Comics, p. 2
> > "Hooray for Muggsy!"
> > "Yay - Muggsy won th' game for us!!"
> > ---
> >
> > There are earlier examples of "yay" in comic strips, e.g.:
> >
> > ---
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/85888914/yay-yay/
> > "Squirrel Food," Meriden (Conn.) Daily Journal, July 3, 1918, p. 10
> > "Yay! Yay!"
> > ---
> >
> > ...but that's not clearly a celebratory exclamation like the later ones.
> >
> > --bgz
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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