Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Ye Old Shoppe Shops

BK Teo wrote yesterday: “I have come across this word “shoppe” and I undersand it has the same meaning as shop. I would like to suggest that you use the word Shoppe for “What’s the Good Word?” series from alphaDictionary.”

Shoppe is an archaic variant of shop that is no longer in use. The spelling was probably influenced by French but who knows? Shoppe is used to for its sense of things dated, even old-fashioned, and quaint, as in “Ye Olde Antique Shoppe”. This phrase is simply a quaint variant of the modern “The Old Antique Shop”. These are curiosities but there isn’t much more than can be said about them that is interesting.

4 Responses to “Ye Old Shoppe Shops”

  1. Brn Says:

    I agree that that “shoppe” isn’t interesting, but the “ye” because the phrase “ye olde shoppe” is pretty much the only remaining instance of the letter thorn in modern English. The y in “ye” actually would have been pronounced “th”. More info here:

  2. Robert Beard Says:

    Well, actually, when printers stopped using thorn (Þ), many substituted Y for it. That is where “ye” for “the” came from. Thorn was (and still is in Icelandic) pronounced [th], so pronouncing “ye” in “Ye Olde Antique Shoppe” as [yee] is actually an error. It should be pronounced [thee], just like “the”.

  3. Brn Says:

    Well, actually, that is exactly what I said, when I said ‘The y in “ye” actually would have been pronounced “th”’, so I’m not sure what you said is any different.

    And the article I cited explained that printers used y for thorn and that thorn is still used in Icelandic.

    And I still think that this is interesting.

  4. Stargzer Says:


    I’ve adopted the thorn for use as a smiley with the tongue sticking out. On a WinDoze keyboard it’s really easy to remember: ALT+0222 using the numbers on the Numeric Keypad. If you have a laptop without a numeric keypad, you’ll have to turn on NumLock and use a funtion key to access the equivalent to the keypad { &*( for 789, UIO for 456, JKL for 123. and M for 0}, so, with NumLock on, on a laptop hold down the ALT and Fn keys and type MKKK. Þ


Leave a Reply