[ vok-uh-tiv ]
/ ˈvɒk ə tɪv /


Grammar. (in certain inflected languages, as Latin) noting or pertaining to a case used to indicate that a noun refers to a person or thing being addressed.
of, relating to, or used in calling, specifying, or addressing.

noun Grammar.

the vocative case.
a word in the vocative, as Latin Paule “O Paul.”

Origin of vocative

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin vocātīvus (cāsus) calling (case), equivalent to vocāt(us) (see vocation) + -īvus -ive

Related forms

voc·a·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vocative

British Dictionary definitions for vocative


/ (ˈvɒkətɪv) /


relating to, used in, or characterized by calling
grammar denoting a case of nouns, in some inflected languages, used when the referent of the noun is being addressed


  1. the vocative case
  2. a vocative noun or speech element

Derived Forms

vocatively, adverb

Word Origin for vocative

C15: from Latin phrase vocātīvus cāsus the calling case, from vocāre to call
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