Definitions

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

  • adj. Linguistics Occurring without an article. Used especially of Greek nouns.
  • adj. Zoology Lacking joints.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not having an article (especially of Greek nouns).
  • adj. Not having a determiner.
  • adj. Not having joints.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Used without the article.
  • adj. Without joints, or having the joints indistinct, as some insects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In zoöl.:
  • Without joints; not jointed; inarticulated.
  • Having no articulated limbs; anarthropodous.
  • In grammar, without the article: applied especially to Greek nouns so used exceptionally.

Etymologies

From Greek anarthros, not articulated : an-, without; see a-1 + arthron, joint; see ar- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
an- +‎ arthrous, from Ancient Greek ἄρθρον (arthron, "joint; grammatical article"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Basically, it appears that compound nouns that start with Oxford University can be arthrous (introduced by the article the, as discussed at length by Arnold Zwicky), but Oxford University itself is anarthrous (not introduced by an article).

    2008 July « Motivated Grammar

  • You noticed my own careless deployment of anarthrous occupational nominal premodifiers?

    Hullabaloo

  • In v. 5 Daniel claims God to be ton zōnta theon, but Cyrus claims for Bel to be only zōn theos; in v. 24 Cyrus makes the same claim for the Dragon, and then in v. 25 Daniel makes only a like claim for God (anarthrous), for

    The Three Additions to Daniel: A Study.

  • The anarthrous refers to a word or group of words that appear without a definite article.

    Possessing the Treasure

  • These are the same words used in 1 Thessalonians 5: 1, but here they are in the anarthrous form while they are not in Paul's letter.

    Possessing the Treasure

  • That version can't be used predicatively: "This is big deal" might be the boast of a Russian who never mastered the English determiner system, but it's not something that a native speaker would say "to express contempt for something regarded as impressive by another person". idiomatic contempt aside, the anarthrous exclamatory fragment "big deal" is syntactically regular, in that there are lots of other adjective+noun combinations used in a similar way.

    Language Log

  • The anarthrous exclamatory fragments are contrained in ways that are not entirely clear to me.

    Language Log

  • Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb points to a quality about someone.

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • "wow, this soup is really salty!", but the anarthrous exclamative "salty soup!" doesn't seem to me to work.

    Language Log

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