participle

noun
par·ti·ci·ple | \ ˈpär-tə-ˌsi-pəl , Britain also pär-ˈti-si-pəl , pər- , pə- \

Definition of participle 

: a word having the characteristics of both verb and adjective especially : an English verbal form that has the function of an adjective and at the same time shows such verbal features as tense and voice and capacity to take an object In "the finished product," the word "finished" is a participle formed from the verb "finish."

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Grammar and participle

English verbs can take several basic forms, which we call their principal parts: the infinitive ("to move", "to speak", etc.), the past tense ("moved", "spoke"), the past participle ("moved", "spoken"), and the present participle ("moving", "speaking"). The participles are words that "take part" in two different word classes: that is, verb forms that can also act like adjectives ("the spoken word", "a moving experience"). A grammatical error called a dangling participle occurs when a sentence begins with a participle that doesn't modify the subject; in the sentence "Climbing the mountain, the cabin came in view", for example, "climbing" is a dangling participle since it doesn't modify "cabin".

Examples of participle in a Sentence

In the phrases “the finishing touches” and “the finished product,” “finishing” and “finished” are participles formed from the verb “finish.”

Recent Examples on the Web

One explanation is that, like the dangling participle, the split infinitive has a catchy name, making the rule easy to pass on. The Economist, "The ban on split infinitives is an idea whose time never came," 26 Apr. 2018 Got that?** A common hyphenated compound follows the pattern adjective-noun noun or adjective-participle noun. John E. Mcintyre, baltimoresun.com, "Mind your hyphens and the dashes can take care of themselves," 27 Aug. 2017 The word traces back to the Middle English and Old French for ‘‘exit,’’ and before that to the feminine past participle (issir) of the Latin exire, meaning to ‘‘go out’’ or ‘ Carina Chocano, New York Times, "Everywhere You Look, We’ve Downgraded Real Problems Into Mere ‘Issues’," 18 July 2017 The rolling parade of exclamation points and dangling participles might have offended some onlookers. Doug Maccash, NOLA.com, "World Naked Bike Ride 2017 streaks through the French Quarter," 10 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'participle.' 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 participle

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for participle

Middle English, from Anglo-French, modification of Latin participium, from particip-, particeps

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Time Traveler for participle

The first known use of participle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for participle

participle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of participle

grammar : a form of a verb that is used to indicate a past or present action and that can also be used like an adjective

participle

noun
par·ti·ci·ple | \ ˈpär-tə-ˌsi-pəl \

Kids Definition of participle

: a form of a verb that is used to indicate a past or ongoing action and that can be used like an adjective The word “smiling” in “the smiling child” is a participle.

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More from Merriam-Webster on participle

Spanish Central: Translation of participle

Nglish: Translation of participle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of participle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on participle

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occurring twice a year or every two years

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