[kon-uh-tiv, koh-nuh-]


Psychology. pertaining to or of the nature of conation.
Grammar. expressing endeavor or effort: a conative verb.


Grammar. a conative word, affix, or verbal aspect.

Origin of conative

First recorded in 1680–90; conat(ion) + -ive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conative

Historical Examples of conative

  • Man's spirit has to carry all its knowledge and experience into its own conative spiritual potencies.

  • As to sentiments and emotions, they involve ideas and conative elements in addition to sensations and feelings.

  • The third Brook of Grace irrigates the conative powers of the self; strengthens the will in all perfection, and energises us anew.


    Evelyn Underhill

  • He totally ignores the existence and organisation of the conative side of the mind.

    The Group Mind

    William McDougall

  • With this "conative act," as the psychologists would call it, the true contemplative life begins.

    Practical Mysticism

    Evelyn Underhill

British Dictionary definitions for conative



grammar denoting an aspect of verbs in some languages used to indicate the effort of the agent in performing the activity described by the verb
of or relating to conation
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 conative

1836, from Latin conat-, past participle stem of conari "to endeavor, to try" (see conation) + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper