ac·​cu·​sa·​tive | \ ə-ˈkyü-zə-tiv How to pronounce accusative (audio) \

Definition of accusative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a grammatical case (see case entry 1 sense 3a) that marks the direct object of a verb or the object of some prepositions
2 : accusatory an accusative tone



Definition of accusative (Entry 2 of 2)

: the accusative case of a language : a form in the accusative case

Examples of accusative in a Sentence

Noun a noun in the accusative
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Young Audre thrived underneath and in spite of her mother’s accusative, watchful eye. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, 25 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accusative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of accusative


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accusative


Middle English accusatif, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin accūsātīvus, from accūsātus (past participle of accūsāre "to find fault with, accuse") + -īvus -ive

Note: Accūsātīvus is the Latin translation of Greek (ptôsis) aitiatikḗ; the early Roman grammarians who coined it presumably had in mind the verb aitiâsthai, which means both "to accuse, censure" and "to allege as the cause." The base of aitiâsthai is aitía, which corresponds approximately in meaning with causa, the base of accūsāre. Nonetheless, if ptôsis aitiatikḗ is the "causal case," cāsus accūsātīvus does not really convey the same idea, and the translation is more apt etymologically than literally.


Middle English accusatif, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin accūsātīvus, from accūsātīvus accusative entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About accusative

Time Traveler for accusative

Time Traveler

The first known use of accusative was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near accusative



accusative absolute

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for accusative

Cite this Entry

“Accusative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for accusative



English Language Learners Definition of accusative

: the form of a noun or pronoun when it is the direct object of a verb or the object of a preposition

More from Merriam-Webster on accusative

Nglish: Translation of accusative for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!