From Middle English eves, from Old English efes (“edge of a roof”), from Proto-Germanic *ubaswa (compare Old High German obasa (“porch, hall, roof”), Gothic 𐌿𐌱𐌹𐌶𐍅𐌰 (ubizwa)), ultimately from the same root as over.
Originally singular, it was only in Early Modern English that the form came to be deemed as plural, from analogy with the unetymological "-s" ending.
eaves pl (plural only)
- The underside of a roof that extends beyond the external walls of a building.
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene i], page 16:
- Ar. […] but chiefly / Him that you term'd Sir, the good old Lord Gonzallo, / His teares runs downe his beard like winters drops / From eaues of reeds : […]