• synonyms


  1. Grammar.
    1. (in certain inflected languages, as Latin, Greek, or Russian) noting a case whose distinctive function is to indicate the direct object of a verb or the object of certain prepositions.
    2. similar to such a case form in function or meaning.
  2. Linguistics. pertaining to a type of language in which there is an accusative case or in which subjects of transitive verbs behave the same way as subjects of intransitive verbs.Compare ergative(def 2).
  3. accusatory.
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  1. an accusative case.
  2. a word in an accusative case.
  3. a form or construction of similar function.
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Origin of accusative

1400–50; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin accūsātīvus, equivalent to ac- ac- + -cūsātīvus, combining form of causātīvus (see causative) a loan-translation of Greek aitiatikḗ, in the sense of pointing to the origin or cause, accusing)
Related formsac·cu·sa·tive·ly, adverbself-ac·cu·sa·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for accusative

Historical Examples

  • It represents an accusative en or hen which still exists in Breton.

    A Handbook of the Cornish Language

    Henry Jenner

  • Nearly all French nouns and adjectives are derived from the accusative.

  • The man with whom the accusative persons are placed is called Sheriff.

    Following the Equator, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • At present they are dative forms with an accusative meaning.

  • In Anglo-Saxon the nominative (or accusative) ended in -an, with a single n.

British Dictionary definitions for accusative


  1. grammar denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in inflected languages that is used to identify the direct object of a finite verb, of certain prepositions, and for certain other purposesSee also objective (def. 5)
  2. another word for accusatorial
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  1. grammar
    1. the accusative case
    2. a word or speech element in the accusative case
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Derived Formsaccusatival (əˌkjuːzəˈtaɪvəl), adjectiveaccusatively, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Latin; in grammar, from the phrase cāsus accūsātīvus accusative case, a mistaken translation of Greek ptōsis aitiatikē the case indicating causation. See accuse
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 accusative


grammatical case whose primary function is to express destination or goal of motion, mid-15c., from Anglo-French accusatif, Old French acusatif, or directly from Latin (casus) accusativus "(case) of accusing," from accusatus, past participle of accusare (see accuse).

Translating Greek ptosis aitiatike "case of that which is caused," on similarity of Greek aitiasthai "accuse." Greek aitia is the root of both, and means both "cause" and "accusation," hence the confusion of the Romans. A more correct translation would have been casus causativus.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper