Definitions

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

  • adjective Expressing a wish or choice.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being a mood of verbs in some languages, such as Greek, used to express a wish.
  • adjective Designating a statement using a verb in the subjunctive mood to indicate a wish or desire, as in Had I the means, I would do it.
  • noun The optative mood.
  • noun A verb or an expression in the optative mood.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Expressing or expressive of desire or wish.
  • Expressing wish or desire by a distinct grammatical form; pertaining to or constituting the mode named from this use: as, the optative mode; optative constructions.
  • noun Something to be desired.
  • noun In grammar, the optative mode of a verb. Abbreviated opt.

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

  • noun rare Something to be desired.
  • noun (Gram.) The optative mood; also, a verb in the optative mood.
  • adjective Expressing desire or wish.
  • adjective (Gram.) that mood or form of a verb, as in Greek, Sanskrit, etc., in which a wish or desire is expressed.

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

  • adjective expressing a wish or a choice.
  • adjective related or pertaining to the optative mood.
  • noun grammar a mood of verbs found in some languages (e.g. Old Prussian, Ancient Greek), used to express a wish. English has no inflexional optative mood, but it has modal verbs like "might" and "may" that express possibility.
  • noun a verb or expression in the optative mood.

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

  • adjective relating to a mood of verbs in some languages
  • noun a mood (as in Greek or Sanskrit) that expresses a wish or hope; expressed in English by modal verbs
  • adjective indicating an option or wish

Etymologies

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

[Middle English optatif, from Old French, from Late Latin optātīvus, from Latin optātus, past participle of optāre, to wish.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English optatif, from Old French, from Late Latin optātīvus, from Latin optātus (past participle of optāre, "to wish")

Examples

  • Greek has a particular mood called the optative mood.

    Archive 2008-12-14

  • Greek has a particular mood called the optative mood.

    Zenit: Father Cantalamessa's 3rd Advent Meditation

  • So presumably if *h₁i-yéh₁-n̥t 'they should go' is the optative of an objective verb like *h₁y-énti 'they go', then theoretically *ḱéi-ih₁-th₂e 'you should lie down' rather than later *ḱéi-ih₁-s would have originally been the optative of *ḱéi-th₂or 'you lie down'.

    Interesting quirks of a PIE subjective-objective model

  • So presumably if *h₁i-yéh₁-n̥t 'they should go' is the optative of an objective verb like *h₁y-énti 'they go', then theoretically *ḱéi-ih₁-th₂e 'you should lie down' rather than later *ḱéi-ih₁-s would have originally been the optative of *ḱéi-th₂or 'you lie down'.

    Archive 2009-09-01

  • However, when developing his general theory of speech acts, Austin abandoned the constative/performative distinction, the reason being that it is not so clear in what sense something is done e.g. by means of an optative utterance, expressing a wish, whereas nothing is done by means of an assertoric one.

    Him

  • Likewise *-i is absent in all other irrealis moods ie. the optative, and likely too, the subjunctive.

    The PIE *to-participle in my subjective-objective model

  • First of all, the 1ps subjunctive is typically understood to simply be *(-o)-oh₂ (although Jasanoff convincingly argues for a purely "athematic"1 *-oh₂ in the earliest stage of PIE, contrasting with present indicative *-mi) and the 1ps optative is normally *-yeh₁m.

    Lehmann's dismissal of PIE *swe

  • Thus the importance to it of the subjunctive or optative mood.

    Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

  • Imperative (prejective), conjunctive or optative (subjective), preterite or perfect (trajective), neutral indicative (objective) are grammatical necessities arising out of times and spaces.

    Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

  • First of all, the 1ps subjunctive is typically understood to simply be *(-o)-oh₂ (although Jasanoff convincingly argues for a purely "athematic"1 *-oh₂ in the earliest stage of PIE, contrasting with present indicative *-mi) and the 1ps optative is normally *-yeh₁m.

    Archive 2008-03-01

Comments

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  • King Henry had no need to give

    An order to insert the shiv.

    He probably said,

    “Would Becket were dead!”

    But spoke in the dread optative.

    February 16, 2019