[ op-tuh-tiv ]
/ ˈɒp tə tɪv /


designating or pertaining to a verb mood, as in Greek, that has among its functions the expression of a wish, as Greek íoimen “may we go, we wish we might go.”


the optative mood.
a verb in the optative mood.

Nearby words

  1. opt in,
  2. opt out,
  3. opt-,
  4. opt-out,
  5. opt.,
  6. optatively,
  7. optesthesia,
  8. optic,
  9. optic axis,
  10. optic canal

Origin of optative

1520–30; < Late Latin optātīvus, equivalent to Latin optāt(us) (past participle of optāre; see opt, -ate1) + -īvus -ive

Related formsop·ta·tive·ly, adverb

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

Examples from the Web for optative

British Dictionary definitions for optative


/ (ˈɒptətɪv) /


indicating or expressing choice, preference, or wish
grammar denoting a mood of verbs in Greek, Sanskrit, etc, expressing a wish


  1. the optative mood
  2. a verb in this mood

Word Origin for optative

C16: via French optatif, from Late Latin optātīvus, from Latin optāre to desire

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 optative


in reference to grammatical mood expressing wish or desire, 1520s, from Middle French optatif (15c.), from Late Latin optativus, from Latin optatus "wished, desired, longed for," past participle of optare "to choose, wish, desire" (see option).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper