Dear Straight Dope: Regarding your recent response to “Here, here” (Hear, hear), why do I sometimes see it in writing as “Oyez, oyez”? Fran Murray, Alexandria, VA
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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