1. a suffix of adjectives (and nouns of adjectival origin) expressing tendency, disposition, function, connection, etc.: active; corrective; destructive; detective; passive; sportive.
Compare -ative, -itive.

Origin of -ive

< Latin -īvus; in some words, representing French -ive, feminine of -if
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British Dictionary definitions for -ive


  1. (forming adjectives) indicating a tendency, inclination, character, or qualitydivisive; prohibitive; festive; massive
  2. (forming nouns of adjectival origin)detective; expletive

Word Origin for -ive

from Latin -īvus
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

Word Origin and History for -ive

sufix forming adjectives from verbs, meaning "pertaining to, tending to," in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin -ivus. In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (e.g. hasty, tardy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper