[ nom-uh-nuh-tiv, nom-nuh- or, for 2, 3, nom-uh-ney-tiv ]
/ ˈnɒm ə nə tɪv, ˈnɒm nə- or, for 2, 3, ˈnɒm əˌneɪ tɪv /
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  1. (in certain inflected languages, as Sanskrit, Latin, and Russian) noting a case having as its function the indication of the subject of a finite verb, as in Latin Nauta bonus est “The sailor is good,” with nauta “sailor” in the nominative case.
  2. similar to such a case in function or meaning.Compare subjective.
nominated; appointed by nomination.
made out in a person's name, as a certificate or security.

noun Grammar.

the nominative case.
a word in the nominative case.
a form or construction of similar function or meaning.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of nominative

1350–1400; <Latin nominātīvus (see nominate, -ive), replacing Middle English nominatif<Middle French <Latin as above


nom·i·na·tive·ly, adverbun·nom·i·na·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for nominative

British Dictionary definitions for nominative

/ (ˈnɒmɪnətɪv, ˈnɒmnə-) /


grammar denoting a case of nouns and pronouns in inflected languages that is used esp to identify the subject of a finite verbSee also subjective (def. 6)
appointed rather than elected to a position, office, etc
bearing the name of a person


  1. the nominative case
  2. a word or speech element in the nominative case

Derived forms of nominative

nominatival (ˌnɒmɪnəˈtaɪvəl, ˌnɒmnə-), adjectivenominatively, adverb

Word Origin for nominative

C14: from Latin nōminātīvus belonging to naming, from nōmen name
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