Definition of perfective in English:



  • Denoting or relating to an aspect of verbs, especially in Slavic languages that expresses completed action.

    The opposite of imperfective
    • ‘The cognitive origin is taken to be the basic linguistic distinction between imperfective and perfective aspects of verbs, which describe uncompleted and completed actions.’
    • ‘It has something that is similar, but it is really a distinction between imperfective and perfective aspect.’
    • ‘One approach to these complex verb forms might be to analyse exponents of progressive and perfective aspect (be and have) as modifiers of the bare verb.’
    • ‘A solid piece of research that draws theoretically interesting conclusions about the semantics of the perfective aspect of Old Church Slavonian will have people questioning the wisdom of financing academia with taxpayers' money.’
    • ‘We show that these traditional models of perfective aspect cannot account for the aspectual system of Thai.’


  • 1A perfective form of a verb.

    1. 1.1The perfective aspect.
      • ‘In the Slavonic languages, the perfective and imperfective are signalled by inflections on the verb, the perfective denoting the completion of the activity and the imperfective its non-completion.’


Early 17th century (in the general sense tending to make complete): from medieval Latin perfectivus, from Latin perfectus accomplished (see perfect).