Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Dividing or serving to divide something into parts; marked by division.
  • adj. Grammar Indicating a part as distinct from a whole, as some of the coffee in the sentence She drank some of the coffee.
  • n. Grammar A partitive word, such as many or less.
  • n. Grammar A partitive construction or case.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. that divides something into parts
  • adj. indicating a part rather than the whole of something; e.g. some
  • n. a partitive word, phrase or case

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Denoting a part.
  • n. A word or phrase expressing partition, or denoting a part.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In grammar, denoting a part; defining a part by expression of the whole to which it belongs; indicating a part as related to a whole: as, the head of a man; a half of it; or,in French, du pain, ‘some bread,’ or ‘of the bread.’
  • n. In grammar, a word expressing partition; a distributive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. indicating or characterized by or serving to create partition or division into parts
  • adj. (Romance languages) relating to or denoting a part of a whole or a quantity that is less than the whole
  • n. word (such a `some' or `less') that is used to indicate a part as distinct from a whole
  • adj. serving to separate or divide into parts

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French partitif, from Medieval Latin partītīvus, from Latin partītus, past participle of partīre, to divide; see partite.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • If she made such a point of other people’s knowing that we ‘had money’ (for she knew nothing of what Saint-Loup used to call partitive articles, and said simply ‘have money,’ ‘fetch water’), of their realising that we were rich, it was not because riches with nothing else besides, riches without virtue, were in her eyes the supreme good in life; but virtue without riches was not her ideal either.

    The Guermantes Way

  • To claim Jesus is referring to the first part of the creation process itself (a kind of partitive use of the genitive) introduces unnecessary confusion.

    Reasons To Believe -

  • It is actually a great help, because most Etruscan grammars both those in books and online materials simply do not deal with cases like the partitive, commitative or directive, because "they are not universally accepted among scholars".

    Grammar of Etrusco-Lemnian nouns

  • He is simply using a partitive construction, indicating which part of the bill of rights he is discussing.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » A Volokh Conspiracy Drinking Game

  • The first becomes the source of the Indo-European ablative *-ód and Uralic partitive *-ta.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • He was saying to a friend that, when he wanted to find an expert in a particular thing, all he found was/were idiots, and he goes on: 'I realize that if all is used with a plural noun with or without a partitive genitive it takes a plural verb, i.e.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Adding to this, we should realize that the Indo-European accusative *-m is technically only the definite accusative case form since indefinite objects are often given other case forms such as genitive, ablative, partitive, etc. in many languages around the world.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • In Finnish, for example, definite objects are marked with the accusative while indefinite objects are declined in the partitive case.

    The early Indo-European case system and definiteness

  • Since PIE lacks a partitive case, it seems to me that the ablative or genitive would be the next best thing.

    The early Indo-European case system and definiteness

  • Consider also that there's a French parallel of the Finnish partitive in the phrase Je mange de la soupe "I eat some soup" where the preposition de, normally used to mean "from", is here used for indefiniteness.

    The early Indo-European case system and definiteness

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