from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to a linguistic form or construction that indicates an agent or agency, as the suffix -er in singer.
  • noun An agentive form or construction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In grammar, noting the case which expresses the subject of the transitive verb in languages in which its form differs from that expressing the subject of the intransitive verb. This case is found in many American languages, for instance, in Eskimo. Also called subjective.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective linguistics Indicating an agent or agency (as -er in lexicographer).
  • adjective linguistics Pertaining to a grammatical agent that performs the action of the verb.
  • noun linguistics A word having this construction.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Later von Wright was to draw attention to what may be called the agentive modes: ˜the agent brings it about that™, ˜the agent makes it true that™, and the like (von Wright 1963).

    The Sun Is Not

  • I suspect that if one wanted to say "A gift was given by Aranth to Uni," it would simply be translated as Fler turce Arnθ Unial where the "agentive" function is taken up by a combination of the nomino-accusative case and marked word order.

    Ipa ama hen

  • Further, the use of this case with human beings to mark the "agentive" or "by" seems more in line with an ablative function.

    Ipa ama hen

  • Theoretically minä was already serving in part as an "agentive" in the earliest Uralic stage, and then came to mark the subject as a whole once Proto-Samoyedic started seperating from Proto-Uralic.

    Back to business: emphatic particles and verbal extensions

  • First, tlamatini is not an adjective but an agentive noun.

    Reinventing the Aztecs - part two Mexican history

  • First, tlamatini is not an adjective but an agentive noun.

    Reinventing the Aztecs - part two Mexican history

  • The reports were identical except in the last sentence where one used the agentive phrase "ripped the costume" while the other said "the costume ripped."

    Lost in Translation

  • The film-makers betray no understanding of how people actually learn, the active and agentive participation of students in the learning process.

    Rick Ayers: An Inconvenient Superman: Davis Guggenheim's New Film Hijacks School Reform

  • The genitive is NOT used as an agentive, despite unfortunately being claimed by many without clear proof.

    Ipa ama hen

  • Of course "agentive/instrumental" function is also often claimed for the Locative and Dative by different "specialists" so who knows if that is even real.

    Ipa ama hen


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