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aye, yes, or no

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aye, yes, or no n Also aye, yes, nor no; aye, yes, no, please, or thank you; ay, yes, or no chiefly Nth

Usu in negative contexts: a single word, a straight answer.
1821 Providence Patriot (RI) 24 Jan 1/3 sePA, My dear husband . . told me . . that we must make use of rye or wheat [as a substitute for coffee], just which I pleased. Not knowing whether it was fashionable, I neither said aye, yes, or no. 1868 Yale Lit. Mag. 34.19, Then he was wholly a stranger, and had never said, “aye, yes or no” to us or about us. 1898 Westcott Harum 363 nNY, “Yes, I do,” declared Mr. Harum, “an’ my notion ’s this, an’ don’t you say aye, yes, nor no till I git through.” 1910 DN 3.458 Chicago IL [Among “People of New England Antecedents”], Ay, yes or no, . . “He wouldn’t answer, ay, yes, or no.” 1914 DN 4.102 cKS, You can’t get aye, yes or no out of them about the matter. 1929 AmSp 5.129 ME, He never said aye, yes or no. 1957 Eaton Coll. cIL, I never said aye, yes, or no. 1975 Gould ME Lingo 38, I asked him how he stood on the matter, and he didn’t give me an aye, yes, nor no! 1983 Lutz Coll. NJ, When someone might have been expected to make a comment or a reply to someone else’s comment and had not done so, Mother would say, “He didn’t say aye, yes, no, please, or thank you.”


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