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 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, "Should You Be Concerned About Blood Clots, Bleeding and the AZ-Vaccine?," 16 Mar. 2021 However, the review also noted that more research should be done to better understand and identify any potential causative effects, as screens are not likely to go away anytime soon. Popular Science, "How your daily screen time affects your wellbeing," 12 Jan. 2021 The time in front of a device or screen was self-reported, and none of these studies are able to draw any causative conclusions. Popular Science, "How your daily screen time affects your wellbeing," 12 Jan. 2021 Researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19, attacks the cells that support smell-detecting neurons. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Burnt oranges, brown sugar won't restore senses lost to COVID-19," 28 Dec. 2020 Whether this is truly causative remains to be explored: Early studies of administering vitamin D for COVID-19 treatment have shown positive and neutral results. Fedor Kossakovski, Science, "Why cold weather makes it harder for the body to fight respiratory infections," 15 Dec. 2020 Consider the following observation: There is a causative nexus between the commands to violence in Islamic scripture, the mediating influence of sharia-supremacist scholars, and the bombings of Western targets carried out by young Muslim men. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "It’s a Straight Line from Biden to BLM," 5 Sep. 2020 To really understand if that link is causative though, will take more time and lab experiments. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Meet ACE2, the Enzyme at the Center of the Covid-19 Mystery," 1 June 2020 With some infections, by the time a person is evidently ill, their immune system has cleared away most of the causative agent. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Experts search for answers in limited information about mystery pneumonia outbreak in China," 4 Jan. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for causative

Last Updated

25 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Causative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

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