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Related to ergative: absolutive


1. Of or relating to a language, such as Georgian, in which the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are expressed by one grammatical case, and the subject of a transitive verb is expressed by another.
2. Of or relating to the grammatical case of the subject of a transitive verb in such a language.
1. The ergative case.
2. An ergative inflection.
3. A nominal having an ergative form.

[From Greek ergatēs, worker, from ergon, work; see werg- in Indo-European roots.]

er′ga·tiv′i·ty n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈɜːɡətɪv) linguistics
1. (Linguistics) denoting a type of verb that takes the same noun as either direct object or as subject, with equivalent meaning. Thus, "fuse" is an ergative verb: "He fused the lights" and "The lights fused" have equivalent meaning
2. (Linguistics) denoting a case of nouns in certain languages, for example, Inuktitut or Basque, marking a noun used interchangeably as either the direct object of a transitive verb or the subject of an intransitive verb
3. (Linguistics) denoting a language that has ergative verbs or ergative nouns
4. (Linguistics) an ergative verb
5. (Linguistics) an ergative noun or case of nouns
[C20: from Greek ergatēs a workman + -ive]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɜr gə tɪv)

1. of or designating a verb in which the subject of the intransitive construction is also the object of the transitive construction: The boat capsized. They capsized the boat.
a. of or designating a grammatical case, as in Basque or Georgian, that indicates the subject of a transitive verb and is distinct from the case indicating the subject of an intransitive verb.
b. similar to such a case in function or meaning, esp. in indicating an agent as subject.
3. of or pertaining to a language that has an ergative case or in which the direct object of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb are paired grammatically by other means.
4. an ergative verb.
5. the ergative case.
6. a word in the ergative case.
[1945–50; < Greek ergát(ēs) worker]
er`ga•tiv′i•ty, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Used to describe a case of verbs that take the same noun as either subject or object, for example “broke” in “She broke the glass” and “The glass broke.”
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited


[ˈɜːgətɪv] ADJ (Ling) → ergativo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Two Tsezic languages, namely Khwarshi and Bezhta, have a zero-marked ergative. In these languages the oblique form of nouns without further case endings serves ergative function.
The word meaning 'fish' is in the absolutive case (unmarked in this language) when it is the "subject" of an intransitive verb (first example) or the "object" of a transitive verb (third example), and in the ergative case when it is the "subject" of a transitive verb (second example).
That is, it is a non-auxiliary verb ({P:N}) which takes an ergative (agentive), absolutive (neutral) and a locative as complements, with this complementation being specified to the right of the slash in (6).
(9) One general consideration pointing to the existence of ergative adjectives is the fact that there exist adjectives entering the alternation typical of strictly ergative verbs of the affondare 'sink' class.
Another feature of Moyse-Faurie's description is her ability to explain complex concepts simply, for example, the notion of 'ergative' and 'absolutive', key concepts for understanding the mechanics of western Polynesian languages.
Cases and Thematic Roles: Ergative, Accusative and Active.
Likewise, the translation of the Hittite "ergative" form linkiyant- by "curse deities" is inept (pp.
Based on di-transitives (with ergative Based on Intransitives (with nominative
While a purely agreement-based approach is clearly not satisfactory, there is clear evidence that an approach based entirely on contextual identification is also unsatisfactory, including Examples (31)-(35) from split ergative Pashto.