Definitions

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

  • adjective Of, relating to, or being the grammatical case expressing possession, measurement, or source.
  • adjective Of or relating to an affix or construction, such as a prepositional phrase, characteristic of the genitive case.
  • noun The genitive case.
  • noun A word or form in the genitive case.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Connected with or relating to generation.
  • In grammar, pertaining to or indicating origin, source, possession, and the like: an epithet applied to a case in the declension of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, etc., which in English is called the possessive case, or to the relation expressed by such a case: as, patris, ‘of a father, a father's,’ is the genitive case of the Latin noun pater, a father.
  • noun In grammar, a case in the declension of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, etc., expressing in the widest sense a relation of appurtenance between one thing and another, an adjectival relation of one noun to another, or more specifically source, origin, possession, and the like; in English grammar, the possessive case.
  • noun Abbreviated genitive

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Gram.) Of or pertaining to that case (as the second case of Latin and Greek nouns) which expresses source or possession. It corresponds to the possessive case in English.
  • noun (Gram.) The genitive case.
  • noun a construction in Greek similar to the ablative absolute in Latin. See Ablative absolute.

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

  • adjective grammar Of or pertaining to that case (as the second case of Latin and Greek nouns) which expresses origin or possession. It corresponds to the possessive case in English.
  • noun grammar, uncountable An inflection pattern (of any given language) that expresses origin or ownership and possession.
  • noun grammar, countable A word inflected in the genitive case; a word indicating origin, ownership or possession.

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

  • adjective serving to express or indicate possession
  • noun the case expressing ownership

Etymologies

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

[Middle English genetif, from Latin genetīvus, from genitus, past participle of gignere, to beget; see genə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Renaissance Latin casus genitīvus, literally "case pertaining to origin, birth", from genitus the perfect passive participle of gignō ("beget").

Examples

Comments

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  • This word just sounds dirty. Can we come up with an alternative?

    May 16, 2007

  • wwld? (substutite german or Russian or any other case-based language for Latin, I suppose.)

    May 17, 2007

  • I don't have a problem with the genitive case. I just don't like the word genitive. We should call it, oh I don't know, possesstrophe or something fun and fairly indicative like that. For the full backstory, I'm the guy who gets all sensitive when he hears words that might have even an inkling of a glimmer of a negative connotation. See also The No-No List (to which this word has been added). I take pride in my reactionism. ;-)

    May 17, 2007

  • I never thought about it but I actually like the sound of genitive. It sounds maybe nicer in German pronunciation with the soft 'g'. Also, it's better, in my mind, than the unnecessarily harsh sounds that appear in the words 'Accusative' and 'Dative.' 'Nominative' too appears to be more friendly than it is. What are we left with for comfort? Only poor genitive, meek and modest.

    May 17, 2007

  • Nothing with "jen" in it can be *too* awful. ;)

    May 19, 2007