[ uh-kyoo-zuh-tiv ]

  1. Grammar.

    • (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.

    • 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).

  1. an accusative case.

  2. a word in an accusative case.

  1. a form or construction of similar function.

Origin of accusative

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Middle French, or directly from Latin accūsātīvus, equivalent to ac-, a variant of the prefix ad- + -cūsātīvus, combining form of causātīvus “pertaining to a lawsuit; accusative (case) (as if a defendant in a lawsuit)”; loan translation of Greek aitiatikḗ, in the sense “pointing to the origin or cause, accusing;” in Stoic grammatical theory “that which is caused by the verb”; see ad-, causative

Other words from accusative

  • ac·cu·sa·tive·ly, adverb
  • self-ac·cu·sa·tive, adjective

Words Nearby accusative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use accusative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for accusative


/ (əˈkjuːzətɪv) /

  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 purposes: See also objective (def. 5)

  2. another word for accusatorial

  1. grammar

    • the accusative case

    • a word or speech element in the accusative case

Origin of accusative

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

Derived forms of accusative

  • accusatival (əˌkjuːzəˈtaɪvəl), adjective
  • accusatively, adverb

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