Origin of y-
perfective prefix, in y-clept, etc.; a deliberate archaism, introduced by Spenser and his imitators, representing an authentic Middle English prefix, from Old English ge-, originally meaning "with, together" but later a completive or perfective element, from Proto-Germanic *ga-. It is still living in German and Dutch ge-, and survives, disguised, in some English words (e.g. alike, aware, handiwork).