caus·​a·​tive | \ ˈkȯ-zə-tiv How to pronounce causative (audio) \

Definition of causative

1 : effective or operating as a cause or agent causative bacteria of cholera
2 : expressing causation specifically : being a linguistic form that indicates that the subject causes an act to be performed or a condition to come into being

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Other Words from causative

causative noun
causatively adverb

Examples of causative in a Sentence

A virus was found to be the causative agent of smallpox.

Recent Examples on the Web

Up until now, there hasn’t been a way to ask whether a gene whose expression correlates with coral survival actually plays a causative role. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Could CRISPR Be the Key to Saving Coral?," 23 Apr. 2018 Here is a frightening statistic: In 2014, a research project that collected and tested black-legged deer ticks in Texas found 45 percent of those ticks carried the causative agent of Lyme disease. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Rattlers and ticks part of spring turkey hunting," 8 Apr. 2018 The relationship among filters, Photoshop apps, and plastic surgery apps is certainly correlative, if not causative. Lizzie Plaugic, The Verge, "Inside the surreal, probably inevitable world of plastic surgery apps," 6 Apr. 2018 Although antibiotics can clear the infection with Mycobacterium leprae, the causative bacterium, U.S. clinicians often have difficulty diagnosing this rare and confusing disease. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "U.S. leprosy budget cut closes clinics, threatens research," 2 Apr. 2018 Allcott is emphatic that the link between region and healthy eating is not causative and more research will be needed to tease out its nuances. The Washington Post,, "This is the county that buys the least healthy groceries in the U.S.," 6 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of causative

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for causative

Middle English causatyf (as noun; Old Scots causative as adjective), borrowed from Medieval Latin causātīvus, going back to Late Latin, "expressing reason, of a cause," from Latin causātus (past participle of causārī "to plead an action in law, plead as an excuse") + -īvus -ive — more at cause entry 2

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Time Traveler for causative

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

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More Definitions for causative



English Language Learners Definition of causative

formal : making something happen or exist : causing something


caus·​a·​tive | \ ˈkȯ-zə-tiv How to pronounce causative (audio) \

Legal Definition of causative

1 : effective or operating as a cause the causative negligent act
2 : causal sense 2 the causative link between stress and coronary artery diseaseNational Law Journal

More from Merriam-Webster on causative

Britannica English: Translation of causative for Arabic Speakers

Comments on causative

What made you want to look up causative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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