[Ads-l] antedating "yay"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 24 08:26:37 UTC 2021

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.


[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]


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list