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

Definition of aye

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: yes aye, aye, sir


\ 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)

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First Known Use of aye

Adverb (1)

1576, in the meaning defined above


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 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."

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

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Cite this Entry

“Aye.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aye. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for aye


\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \

Kids Definition of aye

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


\ ˈī How to pronounce aye (audio) \

Kids Definition of aye (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on aye

Nglish: Translation of aye for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aye for Arabic Speakers


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