[ in-fin-i-tiv ]
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  1. Abbreviation: infin.

    • in English, the simple or basic form of a verb, with no endings to indicate the verb’s subject or tense, such as come, take, eat, be: used after auxiliary verbs or preceded by the word to, and sometimes functioning as a noun, such as He mustbe,I want toeat,Toloveis tounderstand.: Compare finite verb.

    • a verb form found in many other languages that has a similar function, such as French venir “to come” or Latin esse “to be.”

  1. consisting of or containing an infinitive: an infinitive construction.Abbreviation: infin.

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Origin of infinitive

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Late Latin infīnītīvus “indefinite”; equivalent to in-3 + finite + -ive

Other words from infinitive

  • in·fin·i·tive·ly, adverb

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

How to use infinitive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for infinitive


/ (ɪnˈfɪnɪtɪv) /

  1. a form of the verb not inflected for grammatical categories such as tense and person and used without an overt subject. In English, the infinitive usually consists of the word to followed by the verb

Derived forms of infinitive

  • infinitival (ˌɪnfɪnɪˈtaɪvəl), adjective
  • infinitively or infinitivally, 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

Cultural definitions for infinitive


The simple or dictionary form of a verb: walk, think, fly, exist. Often the word to marks a verb as an infinitive: “to walk,” “to think,” “to fly,” “to exist.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.