Origin of predicate

1400–50; (noun) late Middle English (< Middle French predicat) < Medieval Latin praedicātum, noun use of neuter of Latin praedicātus, past participle of praedicāre to declare publicly, assert, equivalent to prae- pre- + dicā(re) to show, indicate, make known + -tus past participle suffix; (v. and adj.) < Latin praedicātus; cf. preach
Related formspred·i·ca·tion, nounpred·i·ca·tion·al, adjectivepred·i·ca·tive [pred-i-key-tiv, -kuh-; British pri-dik-uh-tiv] /ˈprɛd ɪˌkeɪ tɪv, -kə-; British prɪˈdɪk ə tɪv/, adjectivepred·i·ca·tive·ly, adverbnon·pred·i·ca·tive, adjectivenon·pred·i·ca·tive·ly, adverbsub·pred·i·cate, nounsub·pred·i·ca·tion, nounsub·pred·i·ca·tive, adjectiveun·pred·i·cat·ed, adjectiveun·pred·i·ca·tive, adjectiveun·pred·i·ca·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for predicate

signify, affirm, imply, state, declare, mean, rest, proclaim, assert, base, aver, profess, establish

Examples from the Web for predicate

Contemporary Examples of predicate

Historical Examples of predicate

  • The train of consequences which follows, is inferred by altering the predicate into 'not many.'

  • Of all such actions we predicate not courage, but a name indicative of order.

  • In 'the matter seems clear,' 'clear' is part of the predicate of 'matter.'

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • A verb should agree in number with its subject, and not with its predicate.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • A long subject is often separated from the predicate by a comma.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

British Dictionary definitions for predicate


verb (ˈprɛdɪˌkeɪt) (mainly tr)

(also intr; when tr, may take a clause as object) to proclaim, declare, or affirm
to imply or connote
(foll by on or upon) to base or found (a proposition, argument, etc)
  1. to assert or affirm (a property, characteristic, or condition) of the subject of a proposition
  2. to make (a term, expression, etc) the predicate of a proposition

noun (ˈprɛdɪkɪt)

  1. the part of a sentence in which something is asserted or denied of the subject of a sentence; one of the two major components of a sentence, the other being the subject
  2. (as modifier)a predicate adjective
  1. an expression that is derived from a sentence by the deletion of a name
  2. a property, characteristic, or attribute that may be affirmed or denied of something. The categorial statement all men are mortal relates two predicates, is a man and is mortal
  3. the term of a categorial proposition that is affirmed or denied of its subject. In this example all men is the subject, and mortal is the predicate
  4. a function from individuals to truth values, the truth set of the function being the extension of the predicate

adjective (ˈprɛdɪkɪt)

of or relating to something that has been predicated
Derived Formspredication, noun

Word Origin for predicate

C16: from Latin praedicāre to assert publicly, from prae in front, in public + dīcere to say
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 predicate

mid-15c., a term in logic, from Middle French predicat and directly from Medieval Latin predicatum, from Latin praedicatum "that which is said of the subject," noun use of neuter past participle of praedicare "assert, proclaim, declare publicly," from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim," from stem of dicere "to speak, to say" (see diction). Grammatical sense is from 1630s. Related: Predicative; predicator; predicatory.


1887, from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)).


1550s, back formation from predication, or else from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)). Related: Predicated; predicating. Phrase predicated on "founded on, based on," is American English, first recorded 1766.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

predicate in Culture



The part of a sentence that shows what is being said about the subject. The predicate includes the main verb and all its modifiers. In the following sentence, the italicized portion is the predicate: “Olga's dog was the ugliest creature on four legs.”

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.