\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ay

Definition of aye

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: yes aye, aye, sir

aye

noun
\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ay
plural ayes

Definition of aye (Entry 2 of 3)

: an affirmative vote or voter the ayes have it
\ ˈā How to pronounce aye (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ay

Definition of aye (Entry 3 of 3)

: always, continually, ever love that will aye endure— W. S. Gilbert

Synonyms & Antonyms for aye

Synonyms: Adverb (1)

Synonyms: Adverb (2)

Antonyms: Adverb (1)

Antonyms: Adverb (2)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

First Known Use of aye

Adverb (1)

1576, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1589, in the meaning defined above

Adverb (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aye

Adverb (1)

of uncertain origin

Note: Perhaps a univerbation in Middle English of the interjection ah ah entry 1 and the affirmative ye yea entry 1 with shift of stress; however, Middle English evidence for such a phrase is lacking.

Noun

noun derivative of aye entry 1

Adverb (2)

Middle English ay, borrowed from Old Norse ei, ey, æ "ever, forever," going back to Germanic *aiwim or *aiwom (whence also Old English ā "always, ever, eternally," Old Saxon io, eo "ever, at any time, always," Old High German io, eo "on every occasion, always," Gothic ni…aiw "never"), accusative forms, used adverbially, of *aiwis or *aiwos "time, eternity" (whence Old Frisian ēwe "eternity," Old Saxon and Old High German ēwa, Middle Dutch ēwe, ee "age, eternity"), going back to Indo-European *h2ei̯-u̯o- "eternity, age," whence also Latin aevus, aevum "time as the medium in which events occur, age, lifetime"; also, from a stem h2ei̯-u̯-on-, Greek aiṓn "lifetime, long period of time, age"; and from a u-stem with ablaut and shifting stress *h2ói̯-u-, *h2i̯-éu̯-s, Sanskrit ā́yuḥ "vital force," Avestan āiiu (nominative), yaoš (genitive) "lifetime"

Note: In Middle English the outcome of the Old Norse word has fallen together with the outcome of Old English -æg (as in dæg "day"). Old English ā continued into Middle English as o, oo, and the two words may occur combined as "(for) ay and oo," meaning "forever." For incorporation of ā into compounds in Old English see aught entry 1, no entry 1, naught entry 1, each entry 1. Overlapping in formation with this Germanic etymon is a homonymous root evident in Old English ǣ "law, marriage," Old Frisian ē, ēwe, iōwe "law," Old Saxon ēo, ēu, Old High German ēwa, ēwī "law, command, covenant" (see echt). The two roots have been taken by some as identical, with the sense "law" a concretization of the sense "what lasts, what always exists."

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aye

Time Traveler for aye

Time Traveler

The first known use of aye was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for aye

Cite this Entry

“Aye.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aye. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aye

aye

noun
How to pronounce aye (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aye

: a yes vote

aye

adverb
\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \

Kids Definition of aye

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: yes entry 1 sense 1 Aye, aye, sir.

aye

noun
\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \

Kids Definition of aye (Entry 2 of 2)

: a yes vote or voter The ayes outnumber the nays.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on aye

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aye

Nglish: Translation of aye for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aye for Arabic Speakers

Comments on aye

What made you want to look up aye? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!