ergative: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (ûr'gu-tiv), [key]
— adj.
    1. (in certain languages, as Basque, Eskimo, and some Caucasian languages) noting a case that indicates the subject of a transitive verb and is distinct from the case indicating the subject of an intransitive verb.
    2. similar to such a case in function or meaning, esp. in indicating an agent, as the subject She in She opened the door, in contrast to the subject The door in The door opened.
  1. pertaining to a type of language that has an ergative case or in which the direct object of a transitive verb has the same form as the subject of an intransitive verb. Cf. accusative (def. 2).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.