The word “y’all” dates back to 1631. - FactzPedia


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The word “y’all” dates back to 1631.

The word “y’all” dates back to 1631.

The earliest of these newly-found examples of y'all is in William Lisle's The Faire Æthiopian (1631, 225 years before the current citation in the OED), a re-telling of Heliodorus' history of Ethipoia.

Etymology. Y'all arose as a contraction of you-all. The term first appeared in the Southern United States in the early nineteenth century, though it was probably uncommon, its usage not accelerating until the twentieth century.

Y'all is a subject pronoun that addresses two or more people. It's the contraction of “you” and “all.” From Texas to Virginia to Florida, it's usually southerners who say the word y'all. Americans in other parts of the country generally don't say it.

Y'all is a contraction of “you all,” and is used conversationally in the American South when a need for a distinct plural is felt. Elsewhere around the English-speaking world, we content ourselves with “you all” or “all of you” when we need to emphasize the plural aspect of the situation, which isn't always.

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