A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

Why do court bailiffs say "oyez, oyez" sometimes?

Dear Straight Dope:

Regarding your recent response to "Here, here" (Hear, hear), why do I sometimes see it in writing as "Oyez, oyez"?

You probably always thought. it was "oh yes, oh yes." Silly creature. Here's what my dictionary says:

1. "hear!" "attend!", uttered my court officers, and formerly by public criers, to command silence before a proclamation.

[1375-1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French, plural imperative of oyer, to hear, Old French oir, < Latin audire.

So there you go. It's another way of saying "hear ye."

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