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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

YEA, adv., n. Also yae, ye(a)h, and in reduplic. form yea yea; †yake in Heriot's Hospital Slang. Sc. forms and usages, now only dial. in Eng. [je]

I. adv. 1. (1) As the affirmative particle, indicating assent in answer to a question or as a positive expression of agreement, yes, indeed, truly (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1952 Robertson & Graham Sh. Dial. 19; Sh., Ork., ‡ne.Sc., Ags., 1974).Fif. 1760 Session Papers, Farmer v. Myles (12 Jan.) 13:
Do you incline that I should sign it for you? To which she answered, Yea, yea, or yes, yes.
Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 591:
Yea, du mey stumse, du ill viandit teef it du iz.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 13:
“O yea tae you, sir!” quo Bessie.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (11 Sept.):
Yea, yea, jimp i' my tap! Hit's a winder 'at doo's no blemt mi.
Edb. 1898 J. Baillie W. Crighton 76:
Wul ye come? Say yake or nay at yince.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 28:
Bit leuk doo at my bits o' best claes, yea uggled [after a fall].
Sh. 1972 New Shetlander No. 100. 25:
Yeah, du is richt dere.

(2) used quasi-interrog. to indicate surprise or disbelief: really?, do you say so? (ne.Sc. 1974, yea (yea)).Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 106:
O yea, ye've kent 'im a' that time hiv ye?
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 24:
Yea; d'ye think sae, Tammas?
Ags. 1905 A. N. Simpson Bobbie Guthrie 64:
“We were just thinkin' aboot ye.” “Yea.” “Aye.”
Abd. 1952 Ballads (Gsw. Ball. Club) V. 54:
“She's gey sair come-at aboot Jeemsie, I doot”. “Yea? I saw nae odds on 'er face”.

(3) used derisively, as an expression of contempt (Abd., Ags. 1974, yea yea!).Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters vii.:
“Yeh! Yeh! Yeh!” the cries of execration and contempt pursued him as he ran.

2. Phrs.: (1) gen. in contracted forms. yaal (Abd. 1825 Jam.), yail, yale, yell (Ags., Per. 1825 Jam.), yellie, -y ( < y(e)a, will (ye)), ya wilt thou, reduced yaalta (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 212), yalto, yaltie, yelta, -tou, -tow, yaltoco ( < yea wilt thou, quo (thou), all as expressions of surprise at the supposed effrontery of another, mingled with admonition and defiance, = Eng. “you would, would you?; be careful, just stop it, not so fast, that's enough, now” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also in exclam. phr. what the yeltow, what the devil, in expressions of annoyance. Obs. or arch.; (2) yea 'at o'd ( < yea, that o(f) it), as an exclamation of outraged surprise: just think of it, did you ever? (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.); (3) yea wud ( < yea would (he)), implying that the person concerned did the exact opposite of what was expected or requested.(1) Cai. 1776 Weekly Mag. (25 Jan.) 146:
An' that she'll find: if Britain anes cries Yaul! She'll at her feet like ony puddock sprawl.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 209:
What the yeltow lass, shouldna ye be ready whan I'm ready.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems xix.:
I lat you ha'e't, a while! Na, yelly, I wad be laith.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 21:
But yaltie billies, steek your gab.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads II. 175:
‘Ya, wilt thou?' said Wallace, ‘then tak thee that.'
Ags. a.1823 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1883) 177:
“Yelta billie,” quo' the Kelpie, “I carena for your threats — God help ye!”
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
The king said, Sail; The wind said, Yail.
ne.Sc. 1832 P. Buchan Secret Songs 103:
Hearing a' that was propos'd, Cries Yall! quoth she, we'll durk it.
Ags. 1897 Arbroath Guide (15 May) 3:
I thocht to get ten pund for three bawbees, but yeltie lad, Robin, I had to gie tippence for't.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 65:
What the yeltow maks you come doon there for, without a snibble in your hutch?
(2) Cai. 1922 J. Horne Poems 110:
I'll do nothing o' 'e kind! Yea 'at o'd!
(3) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 126:
I cried on him to come back, but, yea wud!

3. Before a verb used for a second time in a sentence: again, once more, over and over, repeating the action already described (ne. Sc. 1974). Cf. Better, 2.Abd. 1871 R. Matheson Poems 88:
Sae said I than, an' yea-say noo.
Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 214:
Fat's been threepit, an' yea-threepit i' oor witters b' them that's sibbest till's.
Abd. 1932 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 100:
A chappit an' yea-chappit.
Abd. 1968:
He tried and yea tried — he tried and tried again, kept on trying.

II. n. The answer ‘yes'. Phr. aa be de yea, yes, certainly, very well then, in Sh. Sea-taboo usage. ? Cf. Eng. dial. by yea (and nay), of an asseveration. The phr. however is formally obscure and may represent a corruption of some Norse expression.Sh. 1953 New Shetlander No. 35. 13:
“Doo'l tak da peerie boy wie de” said Jarm. “Aa be de yea. Let him bide.”

[O.Sc. yeall, = 2.(1), 1600.]

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"Yea adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/yea>

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