Symbol, Mathematics.
  1. an unknown quantity.

  2. (in Cartesian coordinates) the y-axis.

Words Nearby y

Other definitions for Y (2 of 10)


or y

[ wahy ]

noun,plural Y's or Ys, y's or ys.
  1. the 25th letter of the English alphabet, a semivowel.

  2. any spoken sound represented by the letter Y or y, as in yet, city, or rhythm.

  1. something having the shape of a Y.

  2. a written or printed representation of the letter Y or y.

  3. a device, as a printer's type, for reproducing the letter Y or y.

Other definitions for Y (3 of 10)

[ wahy ]

  1. the Y, Informal. the YMCA, YWCA, YMHA, or YWHA.

Other definitions for Y (4 of 10)



Other definitions for Y (5 of 10)


  1. the 25th in order or in a series.

  2. (sometimes lowercase) the medieval Roman numeral for 150.: Compare Roman numerals.

  1. Electricity. admittance (def. 4). : Sometimes y

  2. Chemistry. yttrium.

  3. Biochemistry. tyrosine.

Other definitions for y- (6 of 10)


  1. a prefix occurring in certain obsolete words (ywis) and especially in archaic past participles: yclad.

Origin of y-

Middle English y-, i- (reduced variant a-), Old English ge-, prefix with perfective, intensifying, or collective force; cognate with Old Frisian, Old Saxon ge-, gi-,Gothic ga-,German ge-; compare perhaps Latin com-com-
  • Also i- .

Other definitions for -y (7 of 10)


  1. 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. Sometimes used to mean “allowing, fostering, or bringing about” the specified action: sippy.

Origin of -y

Old English -ig; cognate with German -ig; compare perhaps Latin -icus, Greek -ikos

Other definitions for -y (8 of 10)


  1. 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 -y2 (-ie ) is the formation from adjectives of 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 -y2 (-ie ) has been lost are now standard in formal written English (goalie; movie).

Origin of -y

From late Middle English (Scots), originally in names; of uncertain origin; baby and puppy, now felt as having this suffix, may be of different derivation
  • Also -ie .

Other definitions for -y (9 of 10)


  1. a suffix of various origins used in the formation of action nouns from verbs (inquiry), also found in other abstract nouns: carpentry; infamy.

Origin of -y

Representing Latin -ia, -ium;Greek -ia, -eia, -ion;French -ie;German -ie

Other definitions for y. (10 of 10)


  1. yard; yards.

  2. year; years.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use y in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for y (1 of 8)



/ (waɪ) /

nounplural y's, Y's or Ys
  1. the 25th letter of the modern English alphabet

  2. a speech sound represented by this letter, in English usually a semivowel, as in yawn, or a vowel, as in symbol or shy

    • something shaped like a Y

    • (in combination): a Y-cross

British Dictionary definitions for y (2 of 8)


/ maths /

symbol for
  1. the y- axis or a coordinate measured along the y- axis in a Cartesian coordinate system

  2. an algebraic variable

British Dictionary definitions for Y (3 of 8)


symbol for
  1. any unknown, unspecified, or variable factor, number, person, or thing

  2. chem yttrium

  1. currency

    • yen

    • yuan

British Dictionary definitions for -y (4 of 8)


suffix forming adjectives
  1. (from nouns) characterized by; consisting of; filled with; relating to; resembling: sunny; sandy; smoky; classy

  2. (from verbs) tending to; acting or existing as specified: leaky; shiny

Origin of -y

from Old English -ig, -ǣg

British Dictionary definitions for -y (5 of 8)


  1. denoting smallness and expressing affection and familiarity: a doggy; a granny; Jamie

  2. a person or thing concerned with or characterized by being: a groupie; a fatty

Origin of -y

C14: from Scottish -ie, -y, familiar suffix occurring originally in names, as in Jamie (James)

British Dictionary definitions for -y (6 of 8)


suffix forming nouns
  1. (from verbs) indicating the act of doing what is indicated by the verbal element: inquiry

  2. (esp with combining forms of Greek, Latin, or French origin) indicating state, condition, or quality: geography; jealousy

Origin of -y

from Old French -ie, from Latin -ia

British Dictionary definitions for y. (7 of 8)


abbreviation for
  1. year

British Dictionary definitions for Y. (8 of 8)


abbreviation for
  1. YMCA or YWCA

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for Y


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.