• synonyms


  1. serving to divide into parts.
  2. Grammar. noting part of a whole: the Latin partitive genitive.
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  1. Grammar. a partitive word or formation, as of the men in half of the men.
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Origin of partitive

1510–20; < Medieval Latin partītīvus divisive, equivalent to Latin partīt(us), past participle of partīrī to divide (see party) + -īvus -ive
Related formspar·ti·tive·ly, adverbun·par·ti·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for partitive

Historical Examples

  • In the classical languages the partitive power was expressed by the genitive.

    The English Language

    Robert Gordon Latham

  • It is not a predicate adjective, but a partitive genitive after hwt.

  • Here a partitive sense is hinted: I shall know (some) music.

    Novelas Cortas

    Pedro Antonio de Alarcn

  • The partitive words that can combine with singular pronouns are comparatively few, viz.


    Robert Gordon Latham

  • (b.) Etahi may be considered as corresponding to the partitive article des of the French.

British Dictionary definitions for partitive


  1. grammar indicating that a noun involved in a construction refers only to a part or fraction of what it otherwise refers to. The phrase some of the butter is a partitive construction; in some inflected languages it would be translated by the genitive case of the noun
  2. serving to separate or divide into parts
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  1. grammar a partitive linguistic element or feature
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Derived Formspartitively, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin partītīvus serving to divide, from Latin partīre to divide
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 partitive


late 14c., "having the quality of dividing into parts," from Late Latin partitivus, from Latin partitus, past participle of partire "to divide" (see part (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper