-y2 Also -ie and -ee.
Forming affectionate or pet names, or nouns that imply smallness.
[Scots -ie, used in names but of uncertain origin, taken over in Middle English.]
The ending appears in affectionate versions of people's names (Johnny, Sandy, Tommy), in names for objects or people associated with childhood (dolly, kitty, tummy), in familiar terms of address (ducky, sonny, lovey), or affectionate names for objects (hanky, telly for television in British usage).
The -ie and -y endings exist in parallel in modern English and it is often a matter of taste which is used. As both endings have plurals in -ies (frillies, kiddies, sweeties) there is a tendency for the -ie ending to be taken as the usual singular form, especially in newer creations (Brummie, a person from Birmingham, druggie, a drug-taker, veggie, a vegetarian). However, some older words usually take -y: baby, daddy, granny, mummy. Reflecting its Scots origin, certain words associated with Scotland usually take the -ie ending: beastie, laddie, lassie, caddie (in the golfing term; caddy when it is a container of tea).
A few terms are spelled -ee, perhaps a variant spelling of -ie: bootee, chickadee, coatee, townee. Goatee, a beard like that on a goat's jaw, might belong in this set, as might bargee, though the latter may well have been influenced by the other sense of -ee, indicating a person given charge of a barge.
See also -sy.