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Meaning and Origin of “Yeah,” “Yeah,” and “Yay”

Could you say “yeah” or “yea” where you mean “yes”? Yeah! You can, but not all the time.

Kimberly Ann Potts
Kimberly Ann Potts

These two words may not be spelled the same way, but they almost sound the same and often interchangeably! Could you say “yeah” or “yea” where you mean “yes”? Yeah! You can, but not all the time.

While the origin of the word “yea” can be traced to the Indo-European root from the old English word “gea,” the term “yeah,” on the other hand, originated in the twentieth century and cannot be traced to any old English word.

“Yea” is one of the ancient ways of saying yes, indeed or truly, especially in old literature. “Yeah,” on the other hand, is simply an informal way of saying yes.

“Yay” is a celebratory exclamation often used by people to express joy and excitement. As a part of speech, it is an Interjection.

When and How Can You Use “Yeah,” “Yea,” and “Yay”?

“Yeah” is a casual version of yes it’s an appropriate form of affirmation when talking to close friends and family. “Yea,” on the other hand, means “yes” too, but it is a casual version of yes. “Yea” can be used as an adverb or noun. “Yay” is licensed anywhere in a sentence to show excitement.

Examples of how “yea” can be used in a sentence:

The citizen is often called upon to vote yea or nay on amendments to the state constitutions, granting of licenses, and approval or disapproval of new municipal undertakings.
There are eight “yeas” and three “nays”—the “yeas” have it!
The yeas won over the nays by five votes.
The yeas made up two-thirds of the parliament, so the bill had to be passed.

Examples of how “yeah” can be used in a sentence:

Will you clean the garden today? Yeah, it will only take a few hours.
Was he on an electric bike? Yeah, he was.
Yeah, you’re the only one he shares his secrets with.
Are you able to turn in your report today? Yeah, I was able to.

Examples of how “yay” can be used in a sentence:

Our team lost the match against her school. I survived, though, so yay!
YAY! the crowd cheered as they laughed and danced in the rain
“It’s a date! “Oh yay, I’ll keep that in mind, Sharpay said and laughed.”
Yay! It’s a boy and a girl!
EnglishIdioms & expressions

Kimberly Ann Potts

My name is Kimberly. I'm an experienced copywriter and editor. I like writing about complex topics to help readers find the correct answers.


Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

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