Definition of dative in English:


Syllabification: da·tive
Pronunciation: /ˈdātiv


  • (In Latin, Greek, German, and other languages) denoting a case of nouns and pronouns, and words in grammatical agreement with them, indicating an indirect object or recipient.
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    • The Greek preposition had several meanings, depending on whether it governed the accusative, genitive, or dative case.
    • Sick's latest book is Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod, which features complaints about sporadic failures to use dative case marking according to traditional (?) principles.
    • A mantra is a kind of prayer that contains the name of God that is inflected grammatically in the dative case.


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  • 1A noun or other word of the dative case.
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    • The particular example of ‘word rage’ that Bob cited involves one of these missing datives.
    • Classical Mongolian had seven cases, all clearly distinguished, in contrast to Latin: nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, ablative, instrumental, and comitative.
    • ‘Das Ereignis ‘and ‘die Kehre im Ereignis ‘were only two in a long line of titles for what must always already be the case if givenness and its dative are to come together at all.’
  • 1.1 (the dative) The dative case.
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    • It is the quintessential use of the dative case, the dative of means, grammatically speaking.
    • The dative is used to designate an addressee (recipient). The dative is also used to show an object towards which an action is directed.
    • The first and most common use of the dative is as an indirect object.


late Middle English: from Latin (casus) dativus '(case) of giving', from dat- 'given', from the verb dare.

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