Definition of participle in English:



  • A word formed from a verb (e.g., going, gone, being, been) and used as an adjective (e.g., working woman, burned toast) or a noun (e.g., good breeding). In English, participles are also used to make compound verb forms (e.g., is going, has been)

    Compare with gerund
    • ‘Moreover, nouns express sorts of things, verbs and participles are tensed, pronouns are either demonstrative or relative.’
    • ‘Like participles, adjectives and also some idiomatic preposition phrases, when used as adjuncts, need an understood subject (or, it might be better to say, a target of predication) to be filled in if they are to be understood.’
    • ‘Intransitive, transitive, causative forms, past and non-past tenses (there was no future tense in Old Tamil), participal and verbal nouns, adjectival participles and the infinitive are found in the language of the inscriptions.’
    • ‘We don't tell each other what we think about anything - except about how prepositions or participles or relative pronouns function.’
    • ‘The end of the previous sentence itself contains an absolute clause with the participle being as its verb.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, by-form of participe, from Latin participium (verbal form) sharing (the functions of a noun) from participare share in.