One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A call given by a court officer, or formerly by public criers, typically repeated two or three times to command silence and attention, as before court is in session.
- ‘‘All the kids were sitting in the hall when the town crier came in shouting ‘oyez, oyez, oyez’ and ringing his bell.’
- ‘Oyez, oyez - may all good citizens of the town of Pocklington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, draw nigh.’
- ‘A new town crier, thought to be the youngest in the country, enjoyed shouting out her first ‘Oyez, oyez’ this weekend.’
Late Middle English: from Old French oiez!, oyez! ‘hear!’, imperative plural of oir, from Latin audire ‘hear’.
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