Etymology: Middle English, from Old English nā, from ne not + ā always; akin to Old Norse & Old High German ne not, Latin ne-, Greek nē- — more at aye
Date: before 12th century
a. chiefly Scottish not
b. — used as a function word to express the negative of an alternative choice or possibility <shall we go out to dinner or no> 2. in no respect or degree — used in comparisons <you're no better than the rest of us> 3. not so — used to express negation, dissent, denial, or refusal <no, I'm not going> 4. — used with a following adjective to imply a meaning expressed by the opposite positive statement <in no uncertain terms> 5. — used as a function word to emphasize a following negative or to introduce a more emphatic, explicit, or comprehensive statement <it's big, no, it's gigantic> 6. — used as an interjection to express surprise, doubt, or incredulity 7. — used in combination with a verb to form a compound adjective <no-bake pie> 8. in negation <shook his head no> II. adjective Date: 12th century 1. a. not any <no parking> <no disputing the decision> b. hardly any ; very little <finished in no time> 2. not a ; quite other than a <he's no expert> 3. — used in combination with a noun to form a compound adjective <a no-nonsense realist> III. noun (plural noes or nos) Date: 1588 1. an act or instance of refusing or denying by the use of the word no ; denial <received a firm no in reply> 2. a. a negative vote or decision b. plural persons voting in the negative IV. abbreviation 1. north; northern 2. [Latin numero, ablative of numerus] number
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.