y

1 of 8

noun (1)

plural y's or ys ˈwīz How to pronounce y (audio)
often capitalized, often attributive
1
a
: the 25th letter of the English alphabet
b
: a graphic representation of this letter
c
: a speech counterpart of orthographic y
2
: a graphic device for reproducing the letter y
3
: one designated y especially as the 25th in order or class or the second in order or class when x is made the first
4
: something shaped like the letter Y

y

2 of 8

abbreviation

1
yard
2
year

Y

3 of 8

noun (2)

1
: ymca
2
: ywca

Y

4 of 8

symbol

yttrium

-y

5 of 8

adjective suffix

variants or less commonly -ey
ē;
 in some dialects, especially British, Southern US, and New England, often  but not shown at individual entries i
1
a
: characterized by : full of
blossomy
dirty
muddy
clayey
b
: having the character of : composed of
icy
waxy
c
: like : like that of
homey
wintry
often with a disparaging connotation
stagy
2
a
: tending or inclined to
sleepy
chatty
b
: giving occasion for (specified) action
teary
c
: performing (specified) action
curly

-y

6 of 8

noun suffix (1)

 same 
plural -ies
1
: state : condition : quality
beggary
2
: activity, place of business, or goods dealt with
chandlery
laundry
3
: whole body or group
soldiery

-y

7 of 8

noun suffix (2)

plural -ies
: instance of a (specified) action
entreaty
inquiry

-y

8 of 8

noun suffix (3)

see -ie

Examples of y in a Sentence

Noun (1) a word that starts with a y a word that starts with y

Word History

Etymology

Adjective suffix

Middle English, from Old English -ig; akin to Old High German -īg -y, Latin -icus, Greek -ikos, Sanskrit -ika

Noun suffix (1)

Middle English -ie, from Anglo-French, from Latin -ia, from Greek -ia, -eia

Noun suffix (2)

Middle English -ie, from Anglo-French, from Latin -ium

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

circa 1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of y was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near y

Cite this Entry

“Y.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/y. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

y

1 of 6 noun
ˈwī
plural y's or ys
often capitalized
: the 25th letter of the English alphabet

Y

2 of 6 noun
ˈwī
1
: ymca
2
: ywca

-y

3 of 6 adjective suffix
variants also -ey
ē
-ier; -iest
1
a
: marked by : full of
blossomy
dirty
muddy
clayey
b
: composed of
icy
waxy
c
: like : like that of
homey
wintry
stagy
2
a
: tending to
sleepy
chatty
b
: causing or performing (a certain) action
teary

-y

4 of 6 noun suffix
ē
plural -ies
1
: state : condition : quality
jealousy
2
: activity, place of business, or goods dealt with
grocery
laundry
3
: whole body or group
soldiery

-y

5 of 6 noun suffix
plural -ies
: instance of a (certain) action
entreaty
inquiry

-y

6 of 6
see -ie
Etymology

Adjective suffix

Old English -ig (adjective suffix) "having the character of"

Noun suffix

derived from Greek -ia (noun suffix) "state, condition, quality"

Noun suffix

derived from Latin -ium (noun suffix) "an instance of a certain action"

Medical Definition

Y

symbol
yttrium

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