-y is a common baby-talk suffix appended to words such as pig (to make piggy), kitten (to make kitty), etc. As babe used to be a common word for infants and young children, I thought it would be likely that baby is a hypocoristic form of babe, originating from baby-talk. However, I have no way to back up this hypothesis, and am wondering if someone else knows how to prove or disprove it.
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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word baby is formed from babe + the -y suffix. Further, they add that baby is likely from baby-talk:
Baby is attested to circa 1400, while babe is noted from the late 1300s. Note also that babe, though the origins are unknown, is likely to have formed from baby-talk as well:
Both words emerged around the same time (in written usage, at least), and may both be from forms of baby-talk. If babe is from early infantile vocalization, as is noted, it is possible that baby is not actually a hypocoristic form because they are both from baby-talk. However, if babe is a shortening (the other possibility), then baby would be a hypocorism.
The OED says yes: babe + the -y suffix used to form pet names and familiar diminutives.