predicate

noun
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-di-kət How to pronounce predicate (audio) \

Definition of predicate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a proposition in logic
b : a term designating a property or relation
2 : the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject and that usually consists of a verb with or without objects, complements, or adverbial modifiers

predicate

verb
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce predicate (audio) \
predicated; predicating

Definition of predicate (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : affirm, declare
b archaic : preach
2a : to assert to be a quality, attribute, or property used with following of predicates intelligence of humans
b : to make (a term) the predicate in a proposition
3 : found, base usually used with on the theory is predicated on recent findings
4 : imply

predicate

adjective
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-di-kət How to pronounce predicate (audio) \

Definition of predicate (Entry 3 of 3)

: completing the meaning of a copula predicate adjective predicate noun

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from predicate

Noun

predicative \ ˈpre-​di-​kə-​tiv How to pronounce predicate (audio) , -​ˌkā-​ \ adjective
predicatively adverb

Synonyms for predicate

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Verb

The verb predicate means, among other things, "to found or base." Despite being attested as early as 1754, that sense has endured attack as a misuse on the grounds that it is not true to its Latin root praedicare, meaning "to proclaim, assert." This criticism, however, has subsided. Predicate can also mean "imply," but be careful about using it to mean "predict"-that use does appear in published sources sometimes, but it's an easy target for usage commentators, who are bound to consider it an all-too-predictable error. The meaning of predicate directly tapped from its Latin root-that is, "to assert"-most often occurs in metaphysic contemplation. A simplistic example of such use is the statement "if y is said to be x (e.g., an apple is a fruit), everything that is predicated of y is predicated of x."

Examples of predicate in a Sentence

Noun In the sentence “The child threw the ball,” the subject is “the child” and the predicate is “threw the ball.” Verb she has predicated her theory on recent findings by other astronomers Adjective In “the sun is hot,” “hot” is a predicate adjective.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The predicate is alarm about a shortage of semiconductors, but the point would also be to invest in areas such as quantum computing, biomedical medical research, and data storage. William A. Galston, WSJ, "America Wakes Up to the China Threat," 9 Mar. 2021 The predicate for installing metal detectors at each entrance of the House floor is false, Republican lawmakers say. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Gun-toting and outspoken House members don't pose physical threat to fellow lawmakers, Capitol officials say," 1 Mar. 2021 The resulting documents revealed that there was no proper predicate for investigating Flynn. The Editors, National Review, "Well Done, Mr. Attorney General," 15 Dec. 2020 That was little comfort to Edward Watts, a history professor at the University of California San Diego, who said Trump has likely laid the predicate for future leaders to challenge election results with little evidence to back up their claims. Shane Goldmacher And Adam Nagourney, chicagotribune.com, "Under attack from Trump, America’s democratic institutions bend but don’t break," 14 Dec. 2020 International law requires a credible threat as a predicate for a strike and has measures against hitting civilian targets. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "Will Trump leave Biden a war in the Middle East?," 1 Dec. 2020 The Justice Department determined that there had been no underlying basis to investigate Flynn (i.e., there was insufficient predicate to investigate him as a criminal suspect or as a clandestine agent of Russia). Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "D.C. Circuit Rules against Michael Flynn, Sending Case Back to Judge Sullivan," 1 Sep. 2020 Each of these arguments ignores its own racist predicate — the presumption that Black people are too dumb to understand which party favors their best interests. Kyle Whitmire, al, "NASCAR and the GOP have the same problem. Only one is trying to do something about it.," 24 June 2020 There was no criminal predicate for the probe: Flynn’s communications with Sergey Kislyak — then the Russian ambassador to the U.S. — during the transition, which set off the whole affair, were entirely proper. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Flynn Case Is a Travesty," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ingeniously, Calhoun even managed to predicate his arguments for slavery in part upon the free trade principles of Adam Smith and the classical economists of the early 19th century. Charlotte Allen, Washington Examiner, "The ghost of John C. Calhoun," 18 Feb. 2021 That a business predicated on at-home entertainment viewing benefited from consumers staying at home wasn’t the surprise. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Coronavirus is propelling Netflix to new heights—but is a crash inevitable?," 31 May 2020 Her plan appears to be predicated on the assumption that his sister has the fallback — in the event of Saul's death, Dorit hands over his most sensitive intelligence. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Homeland series finale recap: Goodbye to you, America," 27 Apr. 2020 Their bluster belies the fact that the U.S. strategy in the Cold War was largely predicated on avoiding direct conflict. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "The Future of America’s Contest with China," 6 Jan. 2020 Saul argues against going to war based on wrong information, explicitly laying out the show's intriguing parallel to the 2003 Iraq War, which was predicated on weapons of mass destruction that were never found. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Homeland' recap: Did Carrie kill Saul? More big revelations from Showtime's series finale," 27 Apr. 2020 The state budget is predicated on a slight increase in revenue. James Salzer, ajc, "Georgia tax revenue drops $1 billion in April as pandemic takes its toll," 6 May 2020 In addition to being morally repugnant, these ideas are also predicated on flawed scientific assumptions. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, "The Dark Search for a “Silver Lining” to the Coronavirus," 4 May 2020 But the plan is largely predicated on benchmarks including the availability of widespread testing, which governors say is not yet available. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump’s social distancing guidelines quietly expire as the administration shifts focus to reopening," 30 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But, unlike that of most other states, Minnesota law allows prosecutors to charge felony murder using assault as the predicate crime. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "How the Charges Against Derek Chauvin Fit Into a Vision of Criminal-Justice Reform," 17 June 2020 Traditionally, the predicate felonies for felony murder included rape, arson, mayhem, robbery, burglary, larceny, prison breach and rescue of a felon. NBC News, "Charges against Derek Chauvin suggest George Floyd's death was unintended," 3 June 2020 The predicate felony in Chauvin's case is third-degree assault. NBC News, "Charges against Derek Chauvin suggest George Floyd's death was unintended," 3 June 2020 Right now, however, the larger goal simply has to be about establishing the predicate right to receive royalties. Eriq Gardner, Billboard, "For Some Rock Pioneers, Warner Music Treats Streaming Royalties as Charity," 4 Apr. 2019 If past is predicate, those explanations will not prevent Mr. Trump from blaming the central bank for any economic problems as the country heads toward the 2020 election. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Fed Keeps Interest Rates Steady and Projects Little Movement Ahead," 11 Dec. 2019 All the Kavanaugh coverage has been intended to undermine his tenure and lay the predicate for structural reform of the U.S. judiciary. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Kavanaugh and the Crisis of Legitimacy," 21 Sep. 2019 Remington Arms had hoped the Supreme Court would review the decision, arguing that the exception only applies when the predicate statute explicitly mentions guns and gunmakers. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Supreme Court won’t let Remington Arms dodge Sandy Hook bullet," 12 Nov. 2019 On the substance of the state law claims, WME argues that the unfair competition claim fails because of the defects in the predicate fiduciary duty, constructive fraud and anti-kickback claims and, once again, because the allegations are too vague. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Where the Writers Guild Stands in Its Legal War With Agencies," 30 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of predicate

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for predicate

Noun

Middle English, from Late Latin praedicatum, from neuter of praedicatus

Verb

Late Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare to assert, predicate logically, preach, from Latin, to proclaim, assert — more at preach

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about predicate

Time Traveler for predicate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about predicate

Statistics for predicate

Last Updated

19 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Predicate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predicate. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for predicate

predicate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of predicate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

grammar : the part of a sentence that expresses what is said about the subject

predicate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of predicate (Entry 2 of 3)

formal : to base (something) on or upon something else

predicate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of predicate (Entry 3 of 3)

grammar : used after a linking verb to describe a noun that comes before the verb

predicate

noun
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-di-kət How to pronounce predicate (audio) \

Kids Definition of predicate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part of a sentence or clause that tells what is said about the subject “Rang” in “the doorbell rang” is the predicate.

predicate

adjective

Kids Definition of predicate (Entry 2 of 2)

: completing the meaning of a linking verb “Sweet” in “the sugar is sweet” is a predicate adjective.

predicate

transitive verb
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce predicate (audio) \
predicated; predicating

Legal Definition of predicate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to set or ground on something : find a basis for usually used with on Jurisdiction over the lawsuit was predicated on the California contactsDaimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. ___ (2014)

predicate

adjective
pred·​i·​cate | \ ˈpre-di-kət How to pronounce predicate (audio) \

Legal Definition of predicate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : occurring prior to and providing the basis or part of the basis for a conviction for another offense (as a RICO offense) predicate acts
2 : occurring prior to and providing the basis for sentence enhancement upon conviction for a later offense

Other Words from predicate

predicate noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on predicate

What made you want to look up predicate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!