Meaning of ergative
Pronunciation: (ûr'gu-tiv), [key]
- (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.
- 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.
- 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).