Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Slang Used as a greeting or to attract someone's attention.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • contraction of you and are
  • pro. shortened form of your.
  • pro. third-person singular, familiar
  • interj. A greeting similar to hi.
  • interj. An interjection similar to hey.
  • interj. Present! Here!

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An exclamation noting effort: usually joined with ho or O.
  • A dialectal variant of you.

Etymologies

From Middle English yo, io, ȝo, yeo, yaw, variant forms of Middle English ya, ye ("yes, yea"), from Old English ġēa ("yes, yea"). Compare Danish, Swedish, Norwegian jo ("yes"). More at yea. (Wiktionary)
From you're, your, etc. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I reckons yo 'ain' got _yo'_ horses trained like we-all back yonder got _ours_.

    Peggy Stewart at School

  • "Is yo 'goin' back on yo 'gibben word -- _yo'_ -- a Newton?"

    The Lost Despatch

  • I'll not fight yo, but I'll flog yo -- _flog yo_ -- d 'yo hear?'

    The History of David Grieve

  • "_Yo ka pensé toutt lanmizè yo, -- toutt lapeine yo_," I was answered.

    Two Years in the French West Indies

  • Den he must bresh his clothes wid yo 'bresh -- _yo'_ bresh, mind you!

    Colonel Carter's Christmas and The Romance of an Old-Fashioned Gentleman

  • And thus Avishing yo "all happy and gspous success Avee end & rest; yo*" assured lo: freinds the GoQno ''

    Suffolk deeds

  • -- an 'Mester Wharton, he says he'll tak' the post, an 'dea his best for yo -- an', remember, _yo mun have a gentleman_!

    Marcella

  • I'm the one to trust (yeah) We belong together Ne nun eul bwa yo OH gu de man eul mi du bol le yo Me eel hon ja su ool gi man ha ne yo Nuh moo na go ma oon gul yo OOH BABY BABY nal ahn ah hu yo Ee de ro yung wun hee ham ke he yo (WE BELONG TOGETHER, UH) Ji chin gu de ne ge gi de do dwe yo Un je na gu del sa rang hal le yo~ (LET'S GO!)

    WN.com - Business News

  • yo ah yo ah yo ah yo~! your kan zehzeh ish lao ah lians ahr?! ai yo mai yo ai yo~

    www.hardwarezone.com.sg

  • I tell yo ', Nella-Rose, if _yo'_ say thar war three dozen aigs, thar _war_ three dozen aigs, an' we'll bargain accordin '! "

    The Man Thou Gavest

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Comments

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  • Philadelphians are fond of it as well. Haven't lived there since I was young but I keep it up out of nostalgia.

    January 23, 2010

  • Us New Yorkers say this all the time. I used to think it was the British exclaimation, "oi!" pronounced backwards and refined. Scary thought- in 50 years, people will be using "lol" as an acceptable 3 letter word for Scrabble.

    January 23, 2010

  • fun fact--"yo" originates from the 15th century!

    April 21, 2009

  • Pimpin'.

    March 13, 2009

  • Awesome comments. :P

    July 31, 2008

  • Got that right! Or something you yell at someone who's just about to hit your car. Or to someone you recognize on the street. Or to the soft pretzel vendor. Or to...well, you get the idea. :-)

    November 2, 2007

  • A term of endearment in Philadelphia.

    November 2, 2007

  • A yo is half a yo-yo.

    December 5, 2006