ethical dative


Definition of ethical dative

: a colloquial use of the dative of a pronoun for a person to whom it imputes a vague concern with the matter in question (such as German mir, literally “for me,” in bleibe mir nur gesund, “I just hope you stay well”)

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First Known Use of ethical dative

1849, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of ethical dative was in 1849

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Cite this Entry

“Ethical dative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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