1

expletive

noun ex·ple·tive \ ˈek-splə-tiv \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of expletive

1 a : a syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy (as in a sentence or a metrical line) without adding to the sense; especially : a word (such as it in "make it clear which you prefer") that occupies the position of the subject or object of a verb in normal English word order and anticipates a subsequent word or phrase that supplies the needed meaningful content
b : an exclamatory word or phrase; especially : one that is obscene or profane
2 : one that serves to fill out or as a filling

Examples of expletive in a Sentence

  1. Angry expletives filled the air.

  2. Expletives were deleted from the transcript of their conversation.

Recent Examples of expletive from the Web

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

First Known Use of expletive

15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


2

expletive

adjective

Definition of expletive

1 : serving to fill up
  • expletive phrases
2 : marked by the use of expletives

Recent Examples of expletive from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of expletive

Late Latin expletivus, from Latin expletus, past participle of explēre to fill out, from ex- + plēre to fill — more at full

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


EXPLETIVE Defined for English Language Learners

expletive

noun

Definition of expletive for English Language Learners

  • : a word or phrase (such as “Damn it!”) that people sometimes say when they are angry or in pain; especially : one that is offensive



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