Definition of conative in English:



  • 1Philosophy Psychology
    Of or involving conation.

    • ‘We are essentially conative beings, striving towards goals.’
    • ‘Attitudes are predispositions to act in a particular situation and involve three elements: cognitive, affective, and conative.’
    • ‘It has to have some effect: political speech is conative or it is nothing.’
    • ‘And, if approval is a conative rather than a cognitive attitude, we might say that she expressed a non-cognitive attitude.’
    • ‘It enters into every form of thinking and into many of our conative and emotional attitudes as well.’
  • 2Grammar
    Denoting a word or structure that expresses attempted action as opposed to action itself, for example at in he was kicking at the bicycle.

    • ‘Additionally, 'break' verbs may appear in the simple intransitive construction while 'cut' verbs may appear in the conative construction.’
    • ‘Although they do not explicitly speak of an ingressive imperfect, they do mention the conative imperfect.’
    • ‘In Greek, for example, the imperfective sometimes adds the notion of "try to do something" (the so-called conative imperfect).’


Late 19th century: from Latin conat- ‘endeavoured’ (from the verb conari) + -ive.