Meaning of WE in English

I. (|)wē, _wi, before “ʸre” or “are” usually (ˌ)wi pronoun, plural in construction

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wē; akin to Old High German wir we, Old Norse vēr, Gothic weis, Sanskrit vayam


a. : I and the rest of a group that includes me : you and I : you and I and another or others : I and another or others not including you — used as a nominative pronoun of the first person plural as the subject of a verb

we live here

we the people of the United States … do ordain and establish this constitution — U.S. Constitution

or in the predicate after a copulative verb

it is we who are the virtuous ones — Vance Packard

or in comparisons after than or as when the first term in the comparison is a subject

you know as much about it as we

or in some absolute constructions

ignorant, you say? we ?

or after but in a compound subject

none but we may say this

— used archaically as subject of an immediately preceding verb to introduce a request or proposal made by the speaker or writer to the group that includes himself where the current construction in ordinary present-day English consists of let us or let's followed by the verb

prepare we for our marriage — Shakespeare

— see our , us ; compare i , ours

b. : people in general including the speaker or writer

when we mind labor, then only, we' re too old — Robert Browning

2. : i II 1 — used by kings and other sovereigns

our sometime sister, now our queen … have we … taken to wife — Shakespeare

— used by editors and other writers to keep an impersonal character or to avoid the egotistical sound of a repeated I


a. dialect chiefly England : us — used emphatically as object of a verb or preposition

to poor we thine enmity's most capital — Shakespeare

the likes of we

b. chiefly substandard : us — used in a compound object or in apposition with a following noun

he disturbed those in the dining room, those in the hall, and even we who had retired upstairs

as to we men — Fanny Burney

4. : you — used coaxingly (as to a child)

we don't want to wake Daddy, do we

or encouragingly (as to a patient)

how are we feeling this morning

or in sarcasm

aren't we getting a little impudent

II. ˈwē noun

( -s )

: a group that is consciously felt as such by its members

the crowd is like a community in that it can be any size, the difference being that the We precedes the I — Howard Griffin

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.