• -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".mess → messymouse → mousey, mousyblue → blueyclay → clayey
    2. Added to verbs to form adjectives meaning "inclined to".run → runnystick → sticky
    3. Variation of -ie added to nouns, adjectives and names to form terms of affection.cute → cuteypup → puppy

    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 (sandcastle → sandcastle-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.modest → modestyhonest → honesty-nym → -nymy (as in toponym → toponymy)-logue → -logy (as in analogue → analogy)
    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