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From a variation of yea, itself from Middle English ya, ye, from Old English ġēa (yes), from Proto-Germanic *ja (yes; thus, so), from Proto-Indo-European *yē (already). Cognate with West Frisian ja, Dutch ja, German ja, Danish ja, Norwegian Bokmål ja, Norwegian Nynorsk ja and Swedish ja, Icelandic .[1]

Interestingly, although perhaps merely coincidentally, modern English yeah seems to possess nearly the same pronunciation as its Old English ancestor (Old English ġēa being /jæːɑ/, Modern English yeah being [jɛə̯] or [jæə̯]) and consequently has really no other words that rhyme with it in rhotic dialects. The reason behind its seeming lack of pronunciation shift is uncertain — although it is quite possible that it simply evolved from a dialectal form of yea which developed a centring diphthong — as other words that had similar pronunciations in Old English did shift in pronunciation. It is alternatively possible that, due to its constant use (and its never being accepted as a formal term), its pronunciation has remained rigidly in place.

Alternative (but less likely) etymology derives yeah from a drawling pronunciation of yes. For further etymology, see yes.[2]



yeah (not comparable)

  1. (informal) Yes.



Note: Many languages have no equivalent of this word; in those cases, the translations given here are for yes.



  1. Expressing joy, celebration, glee, etc.
    Yeah! We did it!

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  1. ^ “yeah” in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, →ISBN.
  2. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. 2003.