Origin of adjective
In addition, many true adjectives are gradable. That is, they can be upgraded ( very pretty ), downgraded ( somewhat disorganized ), or intensified ( really tired ). Usually, those that should not be compared, as correct, impossible, and mortal, are also not gradable. A vote, for example, cannot be very unanimous, too unanimous, or not unanimous enough; it is either unanimous or not. And only in The Wizard of Oz is the Wicked Witch “not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead.” That is not to say that there are no exceptions, as can be seen at the expanded usage note for the absolute adjective unique.
Pronouns, as your, this, and each, can also function as adjectives. But it is the noun as modifier, like bottle and bus in bottle cap and bus station, that gives headaches to dictionary compilers. Faced with evidence, they must ask themselves if occasional use as a modifier makes a particular noun worthy of full adjective status. Bottle and bus certainly do not pass comparison or gradation tests; my cap isn’t more bottle than yours, nor is it very bottle. These nouns are not listed as adjectives in this dictionary. Yet similar nouns, like coffee, kitchen, and summer, are. The number of items they can modify, the number of adjectival senses they have, and the degree to which such senses differ from their noun senses all play a part in the decision. That decision, however is never final. Meanings expand and evolve. Language changes as we speak.
Examples from the Web for adjectives
Pinker notes that roughly a fifth of English verbs began life as nouns or adjectives.Go Ahead, End With a Preposition: Grammar Rules We All Can Live With|Nick Romeo|November 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And anyone who disagrees need look no further than the addition of adjectives to the Gamer.Death of ‘Gamer’ Identity: How Hardcore Trolls Pwned Themselves|Alec Kubas-Meyer|September 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The addiction to adjectives that plagues so much fantasy writing has vanished.
Nouns are adjectives, subjects disagree with objects, modifiers dangle, malapropisms abound.
Her piece is a colorful collection of insults, long on invective and heavy on the adjectives.Deadline Hollywood Editor in Chief Nikki Finke’s 8 Greatest Freakouts|Tricia Romano|June 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
We can see a similar tendency manifested in the case of several other adjectives.Expository Writing|Mervin James Curl
The belief is prevalent to-day that those two adjectives describe one and the same thing.The Missing Link in Modern Spiritualism|A. Leah Underhill
In short, we have the types of meaning embodied in language in the form of nouns, adjectives, and verbs.Essays in Experimental Logic|John Dewey
Since then their ardor has cooled, and their adjectives grown flabby.Socialism and Democracy in Europe|Samuel P. Orth
Adjectives undergo changes which mark their relation to other words.Elements of Gaelic Grammar|Alexander Stewart
British Dictionary definitions for adjectives
- a word imputing a characteristic to a noun or pronoun
- (as modifier)an adjective phrase Abbreviation: adj
Word Origin for adjective
Word Origin and History for adjectives
late 14c., as an adjective, "adjectival," in noun adjective, from Old French adjectif (14c.), from Latin adjectivum "that is added to (the noun)," neuter of adjectivus "added," from past participle of adicere "to throw or place (a thing) near," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + comb. form of iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Also as a noun from late 14c. (adjectives not clearly distinguished from nouns in Middle English). In 19c. Britain, the word itself often was a euphemism for the taboo adjective bloody.
They ... slept until it was cool enough to go out with their 'Towny,' whose vocabulary contained less than six hundred words, and the Adjective. [Kipling, "Soldiers Three," 1888]