Meaning of -Y in English
a native English suffix of adjectives meaning "characterized by or inclined to" the substance or action of the word or stem to which the suffix is attached: juicy; grouchy; rumbly; dreamy.
Also, -ey 1 .
[ OE -ig; c. G -ig; cf. perh. L -icus, Gk -ikos ]
a noun-forming suffix with a variety of functions in contemporary English, added to monosyllabic bases to create words that are almost always informal. Its earliest use, probably still productive, was to form endearing or familiar names or common nouns from personal names, other nouns, and adjectives ( Billy; Susie; birdie; doggie; granny; sweetie; tummy ). The hypocoristic feature is absent in recent coinages, however, which are simply informal and sometimes pejorative ( boonies; cabby; groupie; hippy; looie; Okie; preemie; preppy; rookie ).
Another function of -y 2 (-ie) is to form from adjectives nouns that denote exemplary or extreme instances of the quality named by the adjective ( baddie; biggie; cheapie; toughie ), sometimes focusing on a restricted, usually unfavorable sense of the adjective ( sharpie; sickie; whitey ). A few words in which the informal character of -y 2 (-ie) has been lost are now standard in formal written English ( goalie; movie ).
Also, -ie . Cf. -o, -sy .
[ late ME (Scots), orig. in names; of uncert. orig.; BABY and PUPPY, now felt as having this suffix, may be of different derivation ]
a suffix of various origins used in the formation of action nouns from verbs ( inquiry ), also found in other abstract nouns: carpentry; infamy.
[ repr. L -ia, -ium; Gk -ia, -eia, -ion; F -ie; G -ie ]
Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary. Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House . 2012