Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Contraction of you all.
- IPA(key): /jɑl/, /jɔl/
- (cot–caught merger) IPA(key): /jɑl/
Audio (Southern US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɔːl
- Homophone: yawl
- (chiefly Southern US) Plural form of you.
1987, Judson D. Hale, The education of a Yankee: an American memoir, page 3:
- Much later, after dozens of the men had come up to me to shake my hand (with both of theirs) and say "Y'all come back soon, hear? ...
2007, Roy Blount, Long time leaving: dispatches from up South, page 117:
- People in the South do indeed seem to be addressing a single person as "y'all." For instance, a restaurant patron might ask a waiter, "What y'all got for dessert tonight?" In that case, "y'all" refers collectively to the people who run the restaurant.
- The form y'all is heard primarily in the Southern United States, and nationwide in AAVE. For other second-personal plural pronouns, see you.
- In the past, y'all was never used as a proper singular, but it may have been used with an implied plural, e.g. "you [and your team]", "you [and your coworkers]", "you [and your family]". Due to a cultural shift in the United States by non-Southerners using the word, it is now sometimes used as a singular you.
- Notwithstanding its etymology, the all in y'all is merely a plural marker, not a quantifier. Thus, just as us may refer either to some of us or all of us in standard English, y'all may refer either to some of y'all or to all [of] y'all.
- Y'all is not considered informal speech, but is also not considered formal -- You all would, to a few, be considered more formal, but is not required in formal situation nor is it encouraged.
- see the list of other second-person pronouns in you
- y'all's (possessive)
- all y'all (definitely plural)
- y'all two, y'all three, etc
plural of you