• -y

    Etymology 1

    Alternative forms

    From Middle English -y, -i, from Old English -iġ ("-y, -ic", suffix.), from Proto-Germanic *-īgaz ("-y, -ic"), from Proto-Indo-European *-ikos, *-iḱos ("-y, -ic"). Cognate with Scots -ie ("-y"), West Frisian -ich ("-y"), Dutch -ig ("-y"), Low German -ig ("-y"), German -ig ("-y"), Swedish -ig ("-y"), Latin -icus ("-y, -ic").

    Full definition of -y


    1. Added to nouns and adjectives to form adjectives meaning "having the quality of".messmessymousemousey, mousyblueblueyclayclayey
    2. Added to verbs to form adjectives meaning "inclined to".runrunnysticksticky
    3. Variation of -ie added to nouns, adjectives and names to form terms of affection.cutecuteypuppuppy

    Usage notes

    This suffix is still very productive and can be added to most any word. When the resulting word is not perceived to be a real word, a hyphen is used before the suffix (sandcastlesandcastle-y).



    • (form “having quality of” adjectives) -less

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English and Scots


    1. Forming diminutive nouns. Also used for familiar and pet names.grannyDicky

    Etymology 3

    From Anglo-Norman and Middle French -ie and -e, from Latin -ia, -ium, -tas, Ancient Greek -ία.

    Cognate (as far as Latin -ia is involved) with German -ei and Dutch -ij.


    1. Forming abstract nouns denoting a state, condition, or quality.modestmodestyhonesthonesty-nym-nymy (as in toponymtoponymy)-logue-logy (as in analogueanalogy)
    2. Used in the name of some locations which end in -ia in Latin.Italy, Germany, Saxony, Hungary, Sicily, Lombardy, Tuscany, Albany, Brittany, Burgundy, Picardy, Normandy, Turkey.

    Derived terms

    © Wiktionary