• synonyms


  1. (in certain inflected languages) noting a case of nouns, pronouns, or adjectives, used primarily to express possession, measure, or origin: as John's hat, week's vacation, duty's call.
  2. noting an affix or other element characteristic of this case, or a word containing such an element.
  3. similar to such a case form in function or meaning.
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  1. the genitive case.
  2. a word in the genitive case.
  3. a construction noting this case or the relationship usually expressed by it.
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Compare possessive.

Origin of genitive

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin genitīvus, equivalent to genit(us) (past participle of gignere to beget) + -īvus -ive
Related formsgen·i·ti·val [jen-i-tahy-vuh l] /ˌdʒɛn ɪˈtaɪ vəl/, adjectivegen·i·ti·val·ly, adverbun·gen·i·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for genitival

Historical Examples

  • I shall have occasion to notice the peculiar use of the genitive case and of genitival adjectives in worship later on.

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People

    W. Warde Fowler

  • Such are the chief priori arguments against the genitival character of words like mine and thine.

    The English Language

    Robert Gordon Latham

British Dictionary definitions for genitival


  1. denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in inflected languages used to indicate a relation of ownership or association, usually translated by English of
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    1. the genitive case
    2. a word or speech element in this case
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Derived Formsgenitival (ˌdʒɛnɪˈtaɪvəl), adjectivegenitivally, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin genetīvus relating to birth, from gignere to produce
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 genitival


1818, from genitive + -al (1). Related: Genitivally.

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late 14c., from Old French genitif or directly from Latin (casus) genitivus "case expressing possession, source, origin," from genitus (past participle of gignere; see genital); misused by Latin grammarians to render Greek genike (ptosis) "generic (case)," expressing race or kind (see genus). The noun meaning "the genitive case in grammar" is from 1610s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper