Jess and dow are words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in England and America. They are used in the East of England and were brought to New England in the Great Migration of the 1600s. They are often pronounced jearse, tjeahse, jess and dow, daow.
Colonists from the East of England brought jess and dow to New England in the seventeenth century. Four hundred years later, these special words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ still survive in England and America today.
If you know or use jess and dow, I would like to hear from you. Local pronunciations can vary. ‘Jess’ can be pronounced jearse, tjeahse or djess. For ‘dow’, some areas have dow (rhyming with cow), some have doo (rhyming with zoo), and others have doe (as in female deer); some areas even have toe.
The aim of my research is to find out how widespread jess and dow are in England and America, and how people use them.
The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ of Eastern England and New England