[Ads-l] antedating "yay"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 26 22:27:27 EDT 2021


Margaret Winters wrote:
> So the origin is something akin to the arm pump with a yelled out 'YES!!!'?

OED suggests two possible etymologies for the interjection yay

yay, int.
slang.   An exclamation of triumph, approval, or encouragement.
Etymology: Perhaps < yay adv., used as an exclamation, or < yeah adv.
used similarly with alteration of ending (compare 'ray aphetic form of
hooray int.).

yay, adv.
U.S. slang.
   In phrases yay big (or yay high), ‘this big’, ‘this high’:
frequently accompanied by a gesture indicating the size intended

yeah, adv.
colloquial (originally U.S.).
1. Yes.
2. yeah, right: (used ironically to express contempt or incredulity
with respect to a preceding statement) ‘not likely’, ‘if you say so’.

Garson

____________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021 9:57 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Re: antedating "yay"
>
> [EXTERNAL]
>
> Me too. Respelling.
>
> Yeas and nays.
>
> JL
>
> On Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 6:06 AM Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
>
> > 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
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
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>
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