also gynaeco-, before a vowel gynec-, word-forming element meaning "woman, female," from Latinized form of Greek gynaiko-, combining form of gynē "woman, female," from PIE root *gwen- "woman." Also see æ (1).
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit janis "a woman," gná "wife of a god, a goddess;" Avestan jainish "wife;" Armenian kin "woman;" Greek gynē "a woman, a wife;" Old Church Slavonic zena, Old Prussian genna "woman;" Gaelic bean "woman;" Old English cwen "queen, female ruler of a state, woman, wife;" Gothic qino "a woman, wife, qéns "queen."
digraph in certain Greek or Latin words; it developed in later Latin where classical Latin used separate letters. The Latin digraph also was used to transliterate Greek -ai- (as in aegis). When Latinate words flooded English in the 16c. it came with them, but as an etymological device only, and it was pronounced simply "e" and eventually reduced to that letter in writing (as in eon, Egypt) in most cases, excepting (until recently) proper names (Cæsar, Æneas, Æsculapius, Æsop). When divided and representing two syllables (aerate, aerial) it sometimes is written aë.