One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A word naming an attribute of a noun, such as sweet, red, or technical.
- ‘Use verbs, nouns and adjectives and get a copy of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.’
- ‘Reading becomes an exercise in spotting nouns and adjectives; there is nothing to engage or delight.’
- ‘Firstly I think one of the big problems is the use of descriptive adjectives as nouns.’
- ‘An important reason for this is that most nouns and most adjectives have rather complex semantic structures.’
- ‘In Swinburne's work as a whole many adjectives are used as nouns and many nouns as adjectives.’
Late Middle English: from Old French adjectif, -ive, from Latin adject- ‘added’, from the verb adicere, from ad- ‘towards’ + jacere ‘throw’. The term was originally used in the phrase noun adjective, translating Latin nomen adjectivum, a translation of Greek onoma epitheton ‘attributive name’.
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