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n., pl. Ys Y's, ys y's.
1. the 25th letter of the English alphabet, a semivowel.
2. any spoken sound represented by this letter.
3. something shaped like a Y.
4. a written or printed representation of the letter Y or y.
the Y, Informal. the YMCA, YWCA, YMHA, or YWHA.
1. the 25th in order or in a series.
2. (sometimes l.c.) Elect. admittance.
3. Chem. yttrium.
4. Biochem. tyrosine.
an unknown quantity or a variable.
a prefix occurring in certain obsolete words (iwis) and esp. in archaic past participles (yclad; yclept).
[Middle English y-, i- (reduced variant a-), Old English ge-, prefix with perfective, intensifying, or collective force; c. Old Frisian, Old Saxon ge-, gi-, Old High German ga-, gi, Gothic ga-]
an adjective-forming suffix meaning “characterized by or inclined to” the substance or action of the word or stem to which the suffix is attached: bloody; cloudy; sexy; squeaky.
[Old English -ig; c. German -ig]
a noun-forming suffix, added to monosyllabic bases, occurring in endearing or familiar names or common nouns formed from personal names, other nouns, and adjectives (Billy; Susie; birdie; granny; sweetie; tummy) and in various other usu. informal coinages, sometimes pejorative (boonies; goalie; groupie; Okie; rookie). This suffix also forms from adjectives nouns that denote exemplary or extreme instances of the quality specified (baddie; biggie), sometimes focusing on a restricted, usu. unfavorable sense of the adjective (sharpie; sickie; whitey). Compare -o, -sy.
[late Middle English (Scots)]
a suffix of various origins used in the formation of action nouns from verbs (inquiry), and also found in other abstract nouns (infamy).
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.