Share this entry

intransitive Syllabification: in·tran·si·tive
Pronunciation: /inˈtranzədiv/

Definition of intransitive in English:


(Of a verb or a sense or use of a verb) not taking a direct object, e.g., look in look at the sky. The opposite of transitive.
Example sentences
  • And although I did a bit of a double-take, I soon got the idea of what was meant by that stunningly ungrammatical sleeps obedience - with its intransitive verb assigned a direct object in defiance of all syntactic decency.
  • In particular, similar patterns exist for other cases of verbs combining with intransitive prepositions (or ‘particles’, as some people call them).
  • The combination of verbs with intransitive prepositions is one of the many pseudopods of morphological quasi-regularity that extend into the phrasal domain in English.


Back to top  
An intransitive verb.
Example sentences
  • Are transitives conjoined with intransitives bad?
  • I'm also not sure what would happen with intransitives.
  • It is traditional to distinguish two types of intransitives, which are sometimes referred to by the strange terms, ‘unergative’ and ‘unaccusative’.


Early 17th century: from late Latin intransitivus 'not passing over', from in- 'not' + transitivus (see transitive).



Pronunciation: /inˈtranzədivlē/
Example sentences
  • Furthermore, the verbs are usually transitive, though occasionally they are used intransitively with a preposition like for, of, or about introducing the object.
  • One obvious step was to look on the Web for this particular verb used intransitively - or better yet, find a way to search more generally for sentences according to linguistically relevant lexical and/or syntactic criteria.
  • No, said another student, you can use find intransitively.


Pronunciation: /-ˌtransiˈtivitē/ /-zi-/
Example sentences
  • Or in other words, can intransitivity or immediacy become transitive and mediated?
  • Here is an openness and intransitivity, an attentiveness that is both alert and unfixed, the ‘radical break with transitivity’ that excites Foucault in the Bataille essay and that he characterizes as ‘Greek’.
  • Of even the transitive verbs several occur in isolation from their normal object and continue this state of intransitivity where the normal relations between process and object are suspended.

Definition of intransitive in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive