Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs
Old English gea (West Saxon), ge (Anglian) "so, yes," from Proto-Germanic *ja-, *jai-, a word of affirmation (cf. German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish ja), from PIE *yam-, from pronomial stem *i- (see yon).
To this extent; this; so •A sort of demonstrative adverb used with adjectives of size, height, extent, etc, and often accompanied by a hand gesture indicating size: Dorsey almost did him in yea years ago/ Helen Venable said she'd swear on a stack of Bibles yea high
[1950s+; perhaps fr yea, ''yes,'' specialized fr an earlier sense ''even, truly, verily'' to something like ''even so, truly so, verily so''; perhaps fr Pennsylvania German, based on German je]