Y- (?), ∨ I-. [OE. y-, i-, AS. ge-, akin to D. & G. ge-, OHG. gi-, ga-, Goth. ga-, and perhaps to Latin con-; originally meaning, together. Cf. Com-, Aware, Enough, Handiwork, Ywis.]

A prefix of obscure meaning, originally used with verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns, and pronouns. In the Middle English period, it was little employed except with verbs, being chiefly used with past participles, though occasionally with the infinitive Ycleped, or yclept, is perhaps the only word not entirely obsolete which shows this use.

That no wight mighte it see neither yheere. Chaucer.

Neither to ben yburied nor ybrent. Chaucer.

⇒ Some examples of Chaucer's use of this prefix are; ibe, ibeen, icaught, ycome, ydo, idoon, ygo, iproved, ywrought. It inough, enough, it is combined with an adjective. Other examples are in the Vocabulary.

Spenser and later writers frequently employed this prefix when affecting an archaic style, and sometimes used it incorrectly.


© Webster 1913.