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[ab-luh-tiv] /ˈæb lə tɪv/ Grammar
(in some inflected languages) noting a case that has among its functions the indication of place from which or, as in Latin, place in which, manner, means, instrument, or agent.
the ablative case.
a word in that case, as Troiā in Latin Aenēas Troiā vēnit, “Aeneas came from Troy.”.
Origin of ablative1
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Latin word ablātīvus. See ablate, -ive
Related forms
[ab-luh-tahy-vuh l] /ˌæb ləˈtaɪ vəl/ (Show IPA),


[a-bley-tiv] /æˈbleɪ tɪv/
capable of or susceptible to ablation; tending to ablate:
the ablative nose cone of a rocket.
First recorded in 1560-70; ablate + -ive
Related forms
ablatively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ablative
Historical Examples
  • Third, the ablative form of a noun signifying a portion of the body.

  • The same form of the ablative at Tr V ii 20 'pleno de mare'.

  • To-night I have a pressing engagement with the ablative Absolute.

    Daddy Long-Legs Jean Webster
  • Living Latin had only the feel of the cases: the ablative and dative emotion.

    Instigations Ezra Pound
  • Try to remember, Quinlan, what I told you about the use of the ablative absolute.

    Short Sixes H. C. Bunner
  • The ablative is indicated by certain particles and prepositions.

  • I don't know more than one single word, and that is 'ablative.'

    Married August Strindberg
  • Do you know the difference between the genitive and the ablative case?

    New Word-Analysis William Swinton
  • And by the time he returned to school he had forgotten the ablative singular of Rosa.

    The Penalty

    Gouverneur Morris
  • Subter and super are also occasionally construed with the ablative.

    New Latin Grammar Charles E. Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for ablative


(in certain inflected languages such as Latin) denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives indicating the agent in passive sentences or the instrument, manner, or place of the action described by the verb
  1. the ablative case
  2. a word or speech element in the ablative case
taking away or removing: ablative surgery
able to disintegrate or be worn away at a very high temperature: a thick layer of ablative material
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ablative

mid-15c., from Middle French ablatif, from Latin (casus) ablativus "(case) of removal," expressing direction from a place or time, coined by Julius Caesar from ablatus "taken away," past participle of auferre "carrying away," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + irregular verb ferre (past participle latum; see oblate) "to carry, to bear" (see infer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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