Adjective



Grammar. any member of a class of words that modify nouns and pronouns, primarily by describing a particular quality of the word they are modifying, as wise in a wise grandmother, or perfect in a perfect score, or handsome in He is extremely handsome. Other terms, as numbers (one cup; twelve months), certain demonstrative pronouns (this magazine; those questions), and terms that impose limits (each person; no mercy) can also function adjectivally, as can some nouns that are found chiefly in fixed phrases where they immediately precede the noun they modify, as bottle in bottle cap and bus in bus station.
Synonyms: modifier, qualifier, identifier, describer, describing word.
pertaining to or functioning as an adjective; :
the adjective use of a noun.
Law. concerning methods of enforcement of legal rights, as pleading and practice (opposed to ).
(of dye colors) requiring a mordant or the like to render them permanent (opposed to ).
Archaic. not able to stand alone; dependent:
Women were seen by some (by some men, that is) as adjective creatures, needing to be cared for and protected from the vicissitudes of life.
Contemporary Examples

And the word “Sparta” is sometimes used as an adjective to mean “awesome.”
A Troubled Iraq War Vet Returns Home in Roxana Robinson’s ‘Sparta’ Jane Ciabattari June 2, 2013

Have you never repeated the adjective someone used when asking you a question?
And now, “Optimal” Is a Bad Word Michael Tomasky October 18, 2012

You use an adjective, it better be a sixty-four-dollar adjective.
Pete Dexter’s Indelible Portrait of Author Norman Maclean Pete Dexter March 22, 2014

I thought he gave it a valiant try, but it still left me yearning for an adjective that could best “tomato-ey.”
The Only Food That Matters Katie Workman August 17, 2009

Joyful is certainly one adjective that can be used to describe her latest works.
Yayoi Kusama Contemplates Life and Death in Technicolor Ann Binlot November 11, 2013

Historical Examples

The Noggin, without the adjective, occurs at a few places in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The History of Signboards Jacob Larwood

He boggled slightly as he came to the “adjective,” but got over it safely.
In the Midst of Alarms Robert Barr

In other cases it is usually possible to put in an adjective or some other word that will take the article’s place.
Newspaper Reporting and Correspondence Grant Milnor Hyde

“Striking” was perhaps the one adjective which would best describe her.
Her Father’s Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter

Sometimes the word was used by itself, and sometimes an adjective was joined with it, as original men, men surpassing all others.
The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada Francis Parkman

noun

a word imputing a characteristic to a noun or pronoun
(as modifier): an adjective phrase, adj

adjective
additional or dependent
(of law) relating to court practice and procedure, as opposed to the principles of law dealt with by the courts Compare substantive (sense 7)

late 14c., as an adjective, “adjectival,” in noun adjective, from Old French adjectif (14c.), from Latin adjectivum “that is added to (the noun),” neuter of adjectivus “added,” from past participle of adicere “to throw or place (a thing) near,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + comb. form of iacere “to throw” (see jet (v.)). Also as a noun from late 14c. (adjectives not clearly distinguished from nouns in Middle English). In 19c. Britain, the word itself often was a euphemism for the taboo adjective bloody.

They … slept until it was cool enough to go out with their ‘Towny,’ whose vocabulary contained less than six hundred words, and the Adjective. [Kipling, “Soldiers Three,” 1888]

A part of speech that describes a noun or pronoun. Adjectives are usually placed just before the words they qualify: shy child, blue notebook, rotten apple, four horses, another table.

adjective

Euphemistic substitute for an expletive adjective: You adjectival idiot! (1850+)

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