(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.
noting an affix or other element characteristic of this case, or a word containing such an element.
similar to such a case form in function or meaning.


the genitive case.
a word in the genitive case.
a construction noting this case or the relationship usually expressed by it.

Nearby words

  1. genital warts,
  2. genitalia,
  3. genitality,
  4. genitals,
  5. genitival,
  6. genito-,
  7. genitocrural,
  8. genitofemoral,
  9. genitofemoral nerve,
  10. genitor

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for genitive

British Dictionary definitions for genitive



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


  1. the genitive case
  2. a word or speech element in this case
Derived Formsgenitival (ˌdʒɛnɪˈtaɪvəl), adjectivegenitivally, adverb

Word Origin for genitive

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 genitive



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper