- (obsolete) Formal 2nd person pronoun. Literally means "your gentlehood" or "your nobility".
This form entered the language in the seventeenth century as an extra-polite form, to distinguish itself from the regular second-person pronoun gij or jij (which itself originated as a polite use of the second-person plural form in Middle Dutch, as opposed to the now-extinct second-person singular pronoun du). It was similar in usage and meaning to the Spanish usted. However, it eventually became shortened to U E., and even pronounced as such (/yˈweː/). This shortened form was then shortened further to the modern form u.