\ ō-ˈyez How to pronounce oyez (audio) , -ˈyā, -ˈyes; ˈō-ˌyez, -ˌyā How to pronounce oyez (audio) , -ˌyes How to pronounce oyez (audio) \

Definition of oyez

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used by a court or public crier to gain attention before a proclamation


plural oyesses\ ō-​ˈye-​səz How to pronounce oyez (audio) , ˈō-​ˌye-​səz \

Definition of oyez (Entry 2 of 2)

: a cry of oyez

First Known Use of oyez

Imperative verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oyez

Imperative verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, hear ye, imperative plural of oir to hear, from Latin audire — more at audible

Learn More About oyez

Time Traveler for oyez

Time Traveler

The first known use of oyez was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near oyez

oyer and terminer


oy gevalt!

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oyez

Cite this Entry

“Oyez.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oyez. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for oyez


verb imperative
\ ō-ˈyez, -ˈyā, -ˈyes; ˈō-ˌ How to pronounce oyez (audio) \

Legal Definition of oyez

used by a court officer (as a bailiff) to gain the attention of people present at the commencement of a judicial proceeding

History and Etymology for oyez

Anglo-French oyez! hear ye!, from Old French oiez oyez, imperative plural of oir to hear, from Latin audire


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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