subjunctive

adjective
sub·junc·tive | \ səb-ˈjən(k)-tiv \

Definition of subjunctive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or set of verb forms that represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible or viewed emotionally (as with doubt or desire) the subjunctive mood

subjunctive

noun

Definition of subjunctive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the subjunctive mood of a language

2 : a form of verb or verbal in the subjunctive mood

Examples of subjunctive in a Sentence

Adjective

In “I wish it were Friday,” the verb “were” is in the subjunctive mood.

Noun

“I wish it were not so” is in the subjunctive. Subjunctives can be used to express doubt.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The author has to sneak away from his seat to consult Reagan letters, diaries and biographies to fortify what is essentially a subjunctive enterprise. Thomas Mallon, New York Times, "Watch One With the Gipper: An Aide Recalls Movie Nights With the Reagans," 2 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Batuman writes; Nina’s reality remains untroubled by conditionals and subjunctives. Katy Waldman, Slate Magazine, "Elif Batuman sets out to write a novel as chaotic, random, and intoxicating as real life.," 20 Mar. 2017 To avoid the complicated subjunctive, which expresses wishes and hopes. Diana Spechler, Longreads, "Language Acquisition," 28 Oct. 2017

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

Adjective

circa 1504, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subjunctive

Adjective

Late Latin subjunctivus, from Latin subjunctus, past participle of subjungere to join beneath, subordinate

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Phrases Related to subjunctive

the subjunctive

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Time Traveler for subjunctive

The first known use of subjunctive was circa 1504

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More Definitions for subjunctive

subjunctive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of subjunctive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

grammar : of or relating to the verb form that is used to express suggestions, wishes, uncertainty, possibility, etc.

subjunctive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of subjunctive (Entry 2 of 2)

the subjunctive : the form that a verb or sentence has when it is expressing a suggestion, wish, uncertainty, possibility, etc.

: a subjunctive verb or sentence

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More from Merriam-Webster on subjunctive

Spanish Central: Translation of subjunctive

Nglish: Translation of subjunctive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subjunctive for Arabic Speakers

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