I'm looking for the semantic not(no), as one word.

I'm exploring languages through orthography. I can easily identify the opposite of yes as no. Is there a word for not no?

  • As a Southerner, there's not no reason to need one. No one gets to see the Wizard
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 3:39
  • 1
    Do you mean "neither yes nor no"? If not, can you explain more about the difference between what you want and the word "Yes", which intuitively seems like the answer to "not(no)". Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:01

3 Answers 3


There is no direct English equivalent for the French si or the German doch. Instead English resorts to simply using yes. As do many other languages, mind you.

  • in English, all you can do is say "yes" and hope your meaning is clear, or say "not no" to be explicit (but sound odd).
    – Dannid
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 16:05

Possible duplicate of: Answering a negative question with one word

Some languages have three-form or four-form systems allowing precise, one word answers for negative questions. For example, the German word "doch" would fit as "not no".

Unfortunately, Modern English doesn't really have a suitable equivalent. I say sutiable because there is a word many of us used colloquially as children to mean not no: "Yeah-huh"

"You're not coming to Billy's party?"



Paul does not like chocolate. Neither does Andrew. (= also no)

Paul does not like chocolate. Andrew does. (= not no)


Jane has not got any brothers or sisters. Neither has Mary. (= also no)

Jane has not got any brothers or sisters. Mary has. (= not no)


– You did not keep your promise! – I did keep it! (= not no)


Using an emphasized positive auxiliary to respond to a negative statement does the trick of "not-noing"!

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