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Pseudo-archaic term for the. In origin this is a graphic variant; in late Middle English the letter þ (see thorn) came to be written identically with y, so that the could be written ye. This spelling (usually ye) was kept as a convenient abbreviation in handwriting down to the 19th century, and in printers' types during the 15th and 16th centuries, but it was never pronounced as ‘ye’.

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