Definition of transitive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtransədiv/
Pronunciation: /ˈtranzədiv/


1 Grammar (Of a verb or a sense or use of a verb) able to take a direct object (expressed or implied), e.g., saw in he saw the donkey. The opposite of intransitive.
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.
  • But it is the rare transitive use of the verb, with the action sent on to an object, that catches the attention of philologists.
  • However, some transitive verbs take a prepositional phrase instead of an indirect object.
2 Logic & Mathematics (Of a relation) such that, if it applies between successive members of a sequence, it must also apply between any two members taken in order. For instance, if A is larger than B, and B is larger than C, then A is larger than C.
Example sentences
  • The reason for this consequence is that identity is a transitive relation: that is to say, if a is identical with b and b is identical with c, then, of necessity, a is identical with c.
  • He also considered permutation groups of small degree, groups having a small number of conjugacy classes, multiply transitive groups, and characteristic subgroups of finite groups.
  • The transitive property of equality says that if a = b and b = c, then a = c.


A transitive verb.
Example sentences
  • Are transitives conjoined with intransitives bad?
  • In the past tense configuration, however, the Pashto agreement system is ergative: verb - subject agreement with intransitives, but verb - object agreement with transitives.
  • Unlike Romanian and English the two types of transitives in Japanese show no variation in the mapping from semantic to syntactic structure.



Pronunciation: /ˈtranzədivlē/ Pronunciation: /ˈtran(t)sədivlē/
Example sentences
  • Like most English prepositions, near can be used either transitively (with a noun-phrase complement) or intransitively (without a complement).
  • In this instance ‘is’ speaks transitively and means approximately ‘gathered together,’ ‘collected.’
  • The available evidence thus does not make it clear that this verb can be used transitively, the ‘it’ of ‘suffice it to say’ not being particularly referential.


Example sentences
  • Spheres can be related to each other as parents, children or siblings; the transitiveness of the relationship properties also creates ancestral and descendant relations.
  • Where transitiveness results from the substantial meaning (like seeing), it seems to presume a subject complement.
  • The assumption of transitiveness needs to be mentioned as well.


Pronunciation: /ˌtranzəˈtivədē/ Pronunciation: /ˌtran(t)səˈtivədē/
Example sentences
  • I especially like the discussions of behavioral economics, transitivity, endowment effects, and the like.
  • Strengthening is a special case of transitivity, in which the missing premise is a tautology: if C & A then A; if A, B; so if C & A, B.
  • One can determine to what degree cliques are present by measuring the amount of clustering, also sometimes referred to as transitivity.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'transitory'): from late Latin transitivus, from transit- 'gone across' (see transit).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tran·si·tive

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