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

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 This headline and story imply a causative relationship between the Bolsonaro policy changes and the drop in homicides. WSJ, 5 July 2022 What’s happened is there’s now an assumption that these risk factors are causative rather than associative, says Elovitz. Katie Jennings, Forbes, 17 May 2022 On a scientific level, the specificity of genomic composition—for determining the Covid virus’s variation—was unimaginable for influenza in 1918, an era when doctors did not yet know the causative organism behind the pandemic. Howard Markel, Wired, 14 Jan. 2022 As such, there’s no exact proof of causative effect. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 8 Dec. 2021 The county reported that deaths where fentanyl was a causative factor increased by 126 percent, from 69 to 156. Jim Vargas, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Aug. 2021 Blaming the deaths of 47 Black men on SCT as causative instead of associated is inaccurate and disrespectful. A. Kyle Mack, Scientific American, 20 June 2021 There are only two levels of data that can tell you whether something is causative. Lisa Drayer, CNN, 13 May 2021 But recently, blood clots and abnormal bleeding in a small number of vaccine recipients in European countries have cast doubt on its safety, although no causative link has been found between the patients’ conditions and the vaccine. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

11 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Causative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for causative


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


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