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[dey-tiv] /ˈdeɪ tɪv/ Grammar
(in certain inflected languages, as Latin, Greek, and German) noting a case having as a distinctive function indication of the indirect object of a verb or the object of certain prepositions.
the dative case.
a word or form in that case, as Latin regi in regi haec dicite meaning “tell this to the king.”.
Origin of dative
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English datif < Latin datīvus (casus) dative (case), equivalent to dat(us) given (see date1) + -īvus -ive; translation of Greek dotikḗ (ptôsis)
Related forms
[dey-tahy-vuh l] /deɪˈtaɪ vəl/ (Show IPA),
datively, adverb
nondatival, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dative
  • Substantives had four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative.
  • The experiments are modeled after priming studies with adults involving transitive and dative constructions.
  • The dative case marks the recipient of an action, the indirect object of a verb.
  • The locative, ablative, and dative are identical in the plural.
  • In grammar, the dative case is used to indicate the noun to whom something is given.
British Dictionary definitions for dative


denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives used to express the indirect object, to identify the recipients, and for other purposes
  1. the dative case
  2. a word or speech element in this case
Derived Forms
datival (deɪˈtaɪvəl) adjective
datively, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin datīvus, from dare to give; translation of Greek dotikos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dative

mid-15c., from Latin dativus "pertaining to giving," from datus "given" (see date (n.1)); in grammatical use from Greek dotike (ptosis) "dative (case)," from dotikos "of giving nature," from dotos "given," from PIE root *do- "to give," from the same PIE root as the Latin word. In law, "that may be disposed of at pleasure," from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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