- An affirmative meaning, “yes,” or “I understand.”.
In common use by the 16th century. Possibly from Old French je or o je, meaning “yes, that say I.” More likely from early English yie, meaning yes.
A classic sailor term for “yes.” Usually heard as a response to a given order. This is mostly a maritime/naval term. Supposedly its use in land forces (such as the army) is considered improper because it sounds like a redundancy. As in saying “I” twice.
Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.