Where Does "Ye Olde" Really Come From? (Hint: You Say It Wrong)

"Ye Olde" is one of those phrases we throw around for cheap laughs, but do you have any idea where that first part comes from? Or how to pronounce it? Probably not! Minute Physics takes a stab at explaining, and like most things in life, "Ye" was born out of laziness—and totally France's fault.


Back in the days of old English, the "Th" sound was represented by a single rune shaped something like a letter P. Over the years, it was Babelfished back and forth between French and modern English enough that printers threw their hands up and decided to use a Y instead of two scrunched together letters to represent a "th" sound. Which means that "Ye" is actually "The," and is still supposed to be pronounced as "The." Which, you know, invalidates just about everything that ever happened at your local renaissance faire. Sorry, Harwin! [MinutePhysics]

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This isn't completely unknown in the UK. I've heard it several times.

After coming to America I thought about correcting people, but decided that given that American's can't even pronounce "chassis" properly (it's a soft, French "sha", not a hard, Germanic "cha"), it would be an impossible struggle!