y-

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y- prefix repr. OE ġe- = OS. gi-, ge-, i-, MLG., MDu. g(h)e- (LG., Du. ge-), OHG. ga-, ka-, gi-, ki- (G. ge-) Goth. ga- :- Gmc. *ʒa-. The parallelism of form and meaning of such words as L. commūnis and Goth. gamains, OE. ġemǣne COMMON has suggested the identity of Gmc. ʒa- and L. COM-. This prefix is disguised in form or its force is obliterated in AFFORD, AWARE, EACH, EITHER, ENOUGH, EVERYWHERE, HANDICRAFT, HANDIWORK, NEITHER. From mid-XVI archaizing poets created new formations, e.g. ychain'd, yshrilled. The orig. physical meaning ‘with’, ‘together’, yielded the notion of associations, and hence of appropriateness and collectivity, the final stage being the notion of completeness, a special application being the use of the prefix in pps., regular in OE. and continuing in south. ME. till XV. The OE. form ġe- was succeeded in ME. by ʒe-, i(e)-, y-, the last of which is regular in Spenser and his imitators, as in YCLAD, YCLEPT.