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See more synonyms for vocative on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. of, relating to, or used in calling, specifying, or addressing.
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noun Grammar.
  1. the vocative case.
  2. a word in the vocative, as Latin Paule “O Paul.”
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Origin of vocative

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin vocātīvus (cāsus) calling (case), equivalent to vocāt(us) (see vocation) + -īvus -ive
Related formsvoc·a·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vocative

loquacious, facile, eloquent, artful, articulate, talkative, easy, flip, fluent, garrulous, insincere, plausible, quick, ready, silver-tongued, slick, slippery, suave, urbane, vocal

Examples from the Web for vocative

Historical Examples of vocative

  • That all nouns of the vocative case are of the second person.

    The Comic Latin Grammar

    Percival Leigh

  • The vocative is preceded by a, which signifies O, or by a personal pronoun.

  • It will be observed that the prefix Hil marks the vocative case.

    The Coming Race

    Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • The Vocative is employed when a person or thing is addressed.

  • The interjection of the vocative is with some hiua, and with others me.

British Dictionary definitions for vocative


  1. relating to, used in, or characterized by calling
  2. grammar denoting a case of nouns, in some inflected languages, used when the referent of the noun is being addressed
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  1. grammar
    1. the vocative case
    2. a vocative noun or speech element
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Derived Formsvocatively, 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

Word Origin and History for vocative


mid-15c., "showing the person or thing spoken to," from Middle French vocatif (fem. vocative), from Latin vocativus (casus) "(case of) calling," from vocatus, past participle of vocare "to call" (see voice (n.)). The Latin is a translation of Greek kletike ptosis, from kletikos "related to calling," from kletos "called."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper