Definition of genitive in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a case of nouns and pronouns (and words in grammatical agreement with them) indicating possession or close association.

    • ‘Write in columns the nominative singular, genitive plural, gender, and meaning of: - operibus, principe, imperatori, genere, apro, nivem, vires, frondi, muri.’
    • ‘The nominal system distinguishes five cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative; the genitive and dative endings are always the same.’
    • ‘The only noun inflexion preserved in Modern English is the possessive ending ‘s’ which is a survival of the common Germanic masculine singular genitive case ending.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the Malays and Chinese had managed to build impressive civilisations without so much as a past tense, let alone a subjunctive, or genitive plural.’
    • ‘Since every regular noun has a genitive form, every trademark that has the form of a singular noun has a genitive form too.’


  • 1A word in the genitive case.

    • ‘Attributive genitives are linked to the nouns they qualify by a system of connective particles.’
    • ‘In phrases, adjectives and genitives generally precede nouns: micel fld ‘a great flood;’ Westseaxna cyning ‘king of the West Saxons.’’
    1. 1.1The genitive case.
      • ‘Surnames were frequently created out of the Latin genitive of some ancestor's given name.’
      • ‘As students of the language may recall, German has four cases - nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative - which see words change in order to explain their relationship to each other.’
      • ‘Why do some verbs take the genitive, not the accusative?’
      • ‘The genitive also expresses possession: ‘whose house is this?’’
      • ‘Such instances are common in Arabic and one finds many examples in which an accusative of state occurs from a governed noun in the genitive.’


Late Middle English: from Old French genitif, -ive or Latin genitivus (casus) (case) of production or origin, from gignere beget.