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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Part or all of this page has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.




From Anglo-Norman -if (feminine -ife), from Latin -ivus. Until the fourteenth century all Middle English loanwords from Anglo-Norman ended in -if (cf. actif, natif, sensitif, pensif etc.), and under the influence of literary Neolatin both languages introduced the form -ive. Those forms that have not been replaced were subsequently changed to end in -y (cf. hasty < hastif, jolly < jolif etc.).



  1. An adjective suffix signifying relating or belonging to, of the nature of, tending to; as affirmative, active, conclusive, corrective, diminutive.


Derived terms


  • -ive in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • Miller, D. Gary (2006). Latin Suffixal Derivatives in English and Their Indo-European Ancestry, pp. 204, Oxford University Press.


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