Definition for DE-FIN'I-TIVE


In grammar, an adjective used to define or limit the extent of the signification of an appellative or common noun. Such are the Greek ὁ, ἡ, το; the Latin hic, ille, ipse; the, this, and that, in English; le, la, les, in French; il, la, lo in Italian. Thus, tree is an appellative or common noun: the tree, this tree, that tree, designate a particular tree, determinate or known. Homo signifies man; hic homo, ille homo, a particular man, &c. But in some languages, the definitives have lost their original use, in a great degree; as in the Greek and the French. Thus, “La force de la vertu,” must be rendered in English, the force of virtue, not the force of the virtue. The first la is a definitive; the last has no definitive effect.

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