In linguistics, an adjective (abbreviated adj) is word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun.

Adjectives are one of the English parts of speech, although they were historically classed together with the nouns.[1] Certain words that were traditionally considered to be adjectives, including the, this, my, etc., are today usually classed separately, as determiners.



Adjective comes from Latin (nōmen) adjectīvum "additional (noun)",[2] a calque of Ancient Greek: ἐπίθετον (ὄνομα), translit. epítheton (ónoma), lit. 'additional (noun)'.[3][4] In the grammatical tradition of Latin and Greek, because adjectives were inflected for gender, number, and case like nouns (a process called declension), they were considered a subtype of noun. The words that are today typically called nouns were then called substantive nouns (nōmen substantīvum).[5] The terms noun substantive and noun adjective were formerly used in English, but the terms are now obsolete.[1]

Types of use

A given occurrence of an adjective can generally be classified into one of three kinds of use:

  1. Attributive adjectives are part of the noun phrase headed by the noun they modify; for example, happy is an attributive adjective in "happy people". In some languages, attributive adjectives precede their nouns; in others, they follow their nouns; and in yet others, it depends on the adjective, or on the exact relationship of the adjective to the noun. In English, attributive adjectives usually precede their nouns in simple phrases, but often follow their nouns when the adjective is modified or qualified by a phrase acting as an adverb. For example: "I saw three happy kids", and "I saw three kids happy enough to jump up and down with glee." See also Postpositive adjective.
  2. Predicative adjectives are linked via a copula or other linking mechanism to the noun or pronoun they modify; for example, happy is a predicate adjective in "they are happy" and in "that made me happy." (See also: Predicative expression, Subject complement.)
  3. Nominal adjectives act almost as nouns. One way this can happen is if a noun is elided and an attributive adjective is left behind. In the sentence, "I read two books to them; he preferred the sad book, but she preferred the happy", happy is a nominal adjective, short for "happy one" or "happy book". Another way this can happen is in phrases like "out with the old, in with the new", where "the old" means, "that which is old" or "all that is old", and similarly with "the new". In such cases, the adjective functions may function as a mass noun (as in the preceding example). In English, it may also function as a plural count noun denoting a collective group, as in "The meek shall inherit the Earth", where "the meek" means "those who are meek" or "all who are meek".


Adjectives feature as a part of speech (word class) in most languages. In some languages, the words that serve the semantic function of adjectives are categorized together with some other class, such as nouns or verbs. In the phrase "a Ford car", "Ford" is unquestionably a noun, but its function is adjectival: to modify "car". In some languages adjectives can function as nouns: "uno rojo", "a red (object)" (Span.). As for "confusion" with verbs, rather than an adjective meaning "big", a language might have a verb that means "to be big", and could then use an attributive verb construction analogous to "big-being house" to express what English expresses as "big house". Such an analysis is possible for the grammar of Standard Chinese, for example.

Different languages do not always use adjectives in exactly the same situations. For example, where English uses to be hungry (hungry being an adjective), Dutch, French, and Spanish use honger hebben, avoir faim, and tener hambre respectively (literally "to have hunger", the words for "hunger" being nouns). Similarly, where Hebrew uses the adjective זקוק zaqūq (roughly "in need of"), English uses the verb "to need".

In languages which have adjectives as a word class, they are usually an open class; that is, it is relatively common for new adjectives to be formed via such processes as derivation. However, Bantu languages are well known for having only a small closed class of adjectives, and new adjectives are not easily derived. Similarly, native Japanese adjectives (i-adjectives) are considered a closed class (as are native verbs), although nouns (an open class) may be used in the genitive to convey some adjectival meanings, and there is also the separate open class of adjectival nouns (na-adjectives).


Many languages, including English, distinguish between adjectives, which qualify nouns and pronouns, and adverbs, which mainly modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Not all languages have exactly this distinction and many languages, including English, have words that can function as both. For example, in English, fast is an adjective in "a fast car" (where it qualifies the noun car), but an adverb in "he drove fast" (where it modifies the verb drove).

In Dutch and German, adjectives and adverbs are usually identical in form and many grammarians do not make the distinction, but patterns of inflection can suggest a difference:

Eine kluge neue Idee.
A clever new idea.
Eine klug ausgereifte Idee.
A cleverly developed idea.

A German word like klug ("clever(ly)") takes endings when used as an attributive adjective, but not when used adverbially. (It also takes no endings when used as a predicative adjective: er ist klug, "he is clever".) Whether these are distinct parts of speech or distinct usages of the same part of speech is a question of analysis. It can be noted that while German linguistic terminology distinguishes adverbiale from adjektivische Formen, German refers to both as Eigenschaftswörter ("property words").


Linguists today distinguish determiners from adjectives, considering them to be two separate parts of speech (or lexical categories), but formerly determiners were considered to be adjectives in some of their uses. In English dictionaries, which typically still do not treat determiners as their own part of speech, determiners are often recognizable by being listed both as adjectives and as pronouns. Determiners are words that are neither nouns nor pronouns, yet reference a thing already in context. Determiners generally do this by indicating definiteness (as in a vs. the), quantity (as in one vs. some vs. many), or another such property.

Adjective phrases

An adjective acts as the head of an adjective phrase or adjectival phrase (AP). In the simplest case, an adjective phrase consists solely of the adjective; more complex adjective phrases may contain one or more adverbs modifying the adjective ("very strong"), or one or more complements (such as "worth several dollars", "full of toys", or "eager to please"). In English, attributive adjective phrases that include complements typically follow the noun that they qualify ("an evildoer devoid of redeeming qualities").

Other modifiers of nouns

In many languages, including English, it is possible for nouns to modify other nouns. Unlike adjectives, nouns acting as modifiers (called attributive nouns or noun adjuncts) usually are not predicative; a beautiful park is beautiful, but a car park is not "car". The modifier often indicates origin ("Virginia reel"), purpose ("work clothes"), semantic patient ("man eater") or semantic subject ("child actor"); however, it may generally indicate almost any semantic relationship. It is also common for adjectives to be derived from nouns, as in boyish, birdlike, behavioral (behavioural), famous, manly, angelic, and so on.

Many languages have special verbal forms called participles that can act as noun modifiers (alone or as the head of a phrase). Sometimes participles develop into pure adjectives. Examples of this in English include relieved (the past participle of the verb relieve, used as an adjective in sentences such as "I am so relieved to see you"), spoken (as in "the spoken word"), and going (the present participle of the verb go, used as an adjective in such phrases as "the going rate").

Other constructs that often modify nouns include prepositional phrases (as in "a rebel without a cause"), relative clauses (as in "the man who wasn't there"), and infinitive phrases (as in "a cake to die for"). Some nouns can also take complements such as content clauses (as in "the idea that I would do that"), but these are not commonly considered modifiers. For more information about possible modifiers and dependents of nouns, see Components of noun phrases.


In many languages, attributive adjectives usually occur in a specific order. In general, the adjective order in English can be summarised as: opinion, size, age or shape, colour, origin, material, purpose. This sequence (with age preceding shape) is sometimes referred to by the mnemonic OSASCOMP.[6][7][8] Other language authorities, like the Cambridge Dictionary, alternatively state that shape precedes rather than follows age.[6][9][10]

  1. Determiners and postdeterminers – articles, numerals and other limiters (e.g. three blind mice)
  2. Observation/opinion – limiter adjectives (e.g. a real hero, a perfect idiot) and adjectives subject to subjective measure (e.g. beautiful, interesting), or with a value (e.g. good, bad, costly)
  3. Size – adjectives denoting physical size (e.g. tiny, big, extensive)
  4. Age – adjectives denoting age (e.g., young, old, new, ancient, six-year-old)
  5. Shape – adjectives describing more detailed physical attributes than overall size (e.g. round, sharp, swollen)
  6. Colour – adjectives denoting colour (e.g. white, black, pale)
  7. Origin – denominal adjectives denoting source (e.g. French, volcanic, extraterrestrial)
  8. Material – denominal adjectives denoting what something is made of (e.g., woollen, metallic, wooden)
  9. Qualifier/purpose – final limiter, which sometimes forms part of the (compound) noun (e.g., rocking chair, hunting cabin, passenger car, book cover)

This means that in English, adjectives pertaining to size precede adjectives pertaining to age ("little old", not "old little"), which in turn generally precede adjectives pertaining to color ("old white", not "white old"). So, one would say "One (quantity) nice (opinion) little (size) old (age) round (shape) [or round old] white (color) brick (material) house." When several adjectives of the same type are used together, they are ordered from general to specific, like "lovely intelligent person" or "old medieval castle".[6]

This order may be more rigid in some languages than others; in some, like Spanish, it may only be a default (unmarked) word order, with other orders being permissible. Other languages, such as Tagalog, follow their adjectival orders as rigidly as English.

The normal adjectival order of English may be overridden in certain circumstances, especially when one adjective is being fronted. In addition, the usual order of adjectives in English would result in the phrase "the bad big wolf" (opinion before size), but instead the usual phrase is "the big bad wolf", perhaps because the ablaut reduplication rule that high vowels precede low vowels overrides the normal order of adjectives.

Owing partially to borrowings from French, English has some adjectives that follow the noun as postmodifiers, called postpositive adjectives, as in time immemorial and attorney general. Adjectives may even change meaning depending on whether they precede or follow, as in proper: They live in a proper town (a real town, not a village) vs. They live in the town proper (in the town itself, not in the suburbs). All adjectives can follow nouns in certain constructions, such as tell me something new.

Comparison (degrees)

In many languages, some adjectives are comparable and the measure of comparison is called degree. For example, a person may be "polite", but another person may be "more polite", and a third person may be the "most polite" of the three. The word "more" here modifies the adjective "polite" to indicate a comparison is being made, and "most" modifies the adjective to indicate an absolute comparison (a superlative).

Among languages that allow adjectives to be compared, different means are used to indicate comparison. Some languages do not distinguish between comparative and superlative forms.

In English, many adjectives can take the suffixes "-er" and "-est" (sometimes requiring additional letters before the suffix; see forms for far below) to indicate the comparative and superlative forms, respectively:

"great", "greater", "greatest"
"deep, "deeper", "deepest"

Some adjectives are irregular in this sense:

"good", "better", "best"
"bad", "worse", "worst"
"many", "more", "most" (sometimes regarded as an adverb or determiner)
"little", "less", "least"

Some adjectives can have both regular and irregular variations:

"old", "older", "oldest"
"far", "farther", "farthest"


"old", "elder", "eldest"
"far", "further", "furthest"

Another way to convey comparison is by incorporating the words "more" and "most". There is no simple rule to decide which means is correct for any given adjective, however. The general tendency is for simpler adjectives, and those from Anglo-Saxon to take the suffixes, while longer adjectives and those from French, Latin, Greek do not—but sometimes sound of the word is the deciding factor.

Many adjectives do not naturally lend themselves to comparison. For example, some English speakers would argue that it does not make sense to say that one thing is "more ultimate" than another, or that something is "most ultimate", since the word "ultimate" is already absolute in its semantics. Such adjectives are called non-comparable or absolute. Nevertheless, native speakers will frequently play with the raised forms of adjectives of this sort. Although "pregnant" is logically non-comparable (either one is pregnant or not), one may hear a sentence like "She looks more and more pregnant each day". Likewise "extinct" and "equal" appear to be non-comparable, but one might say that a language about which nothing is known is "more extinct" than a well-documented language with surviving literature but no speakers, while George Orwell wrote "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". These cases may be viewed as evidence that the base forms of these adjectives are not as absolute in their semantics as is usually thought.

Comparative and superlative forms are also occasionally used for other purposes than comparison. In English comparatives can be used to suggest that a statement is only tentative or tendential: one might say "John is more the shy-and-retiring type," where the comparative "more" is not really comparing him with other people or with other impressions of him, but rather, could be substituting for "on the whole". In Italian, superlatives are frequently used to put strong emphasis on an adjective: Bellissimo means "most beautiful", but is in fact more commonly heard in the sense "extremely beautiful".


Attributive adjectives, and other noun modifiers, may be used either restrictively (helping to identify the noun's referent, hence "restricting" its reference) or non-restrictively (helping to describe an already-identified noun). For example:

"He was a lazy sort, who would avoid a difficult task and fill his working hours with easy ones."
"difficult" is restrictive – it tells us which tasks he avoids, distinguishing these from the easy ones: "Only those tasks that are difficult".
"She had the job of sorting out the mess left by her predecessor, and she performed this difficult task with great acumen."
"difficult" is non-restrictive – we already know which task it was, but the adjective describes it more fully: "The aforementioned task, which (by the way) is difficult"

In some languages, such as Spanish, restrictiveness is consistently marked; for example, in Spanish la tarea difícil means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task that is difficult" (restrictive), whereas la difícil tarea means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task, which is difficult" (non-restrictive). In English, restrictiveness is not marked on adjectives, but is marked on relative clauses (the difference between "the man who recognized me was there" and "the man, who recognized me, was there" being one of restrictiveness).


In some languages, adjectives alter their form to reflect the gender, case and number of the noun that they describe. This is called agreement or concord. Usually it takes the form of inflections at the end of the word, as in Latin:

puella bona (good girl, feminine singular nominative)
puellam bonam (good girl, feminine singular accusative/object case)
puer bonus (good boy, masculine singular nominative)
pueri boni (good boys, masculine plural nominative)

In Celtic languages, however, initial consonant lenition marks the adjective with a feminine singular noun, as in Irish:

buachaill maith (good boy, masculine)
girseach mhaith (good girl, feminine)

Often, distinction is made here between attributive and predicative usage. In English, adjectives never agree, and in French, they always agree. In German, they agree only when they are used attributively, and in Hungarian, they agree only when they are used predicatively:

The good (Ø) boys. The boys are good (Ø).
Les bons garçons. Les garçons sont bons.
Die braven Jungen. Die Jungen sind brav (Ø).
A jó (Ø) fiúk. A fiúk jók.

See also


  1. ^ a b Trask, R.L. (2013). Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics. Taylor & Francis. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-134-88420-9.
  2. ^ adjectivus. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  3. ^ ἐπίθετος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  4. ^ Mastronarde, Donald J. Introduction to Attic Greek. University of California Press, 2013. p. 60.
  5. ^ McMenomy, Bruce A. Syntactical Mechanics: A New Approach to English, Latin, and Greek. University of Oklahoma Press, 2014. p. 8.
  6. ^ a b c Order of adjectives, British Council.
  7. ^ R.M.W. Dixon, "Where Have all the Adjectives Gone?" Studies in Language 1, no. 1 (1977): 19–80.
  8. ^ Dowling, Tim (13 September 2016). "Order force: the old grammar rule we all obey without realising". The Guardian. The Guardian.
  9. ^ Adjectives: order (from English Grammar Today), in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary online
  10. ^ R. Declerck, A Comprehensive Descriptive Grammar of English (1991), p. 350: "When there are several descriptive adjectives, they normally occur in the following order: characteristic — size — shape — age — colour — [...]"


  • Dixon, R.M.W. (1977). "Where have all the adjectives gone?". Studies in Language. 1: 19–80. doi:10.1075/sl.1.1.04dix.
  • Dixon, R.M.W.; R. E. Asher (Editor) (1993). The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (1st ed.). Pergamon Press Inc. pp. 29–35. ISBN 0-08-035943-4.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Dixon, R.M.W. (1999). Adjectives. In K. Brown & T. Miller (Eds.), Concise encyclopedia of grammatical categories (pp. 1–8). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-043164-X.
  • Warren, Beatrice. (1984). Classifying adjectives. Gothenburg studies in English (No. 56). Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. ISBN 91-7346-133-4.
  • Wierzbicka, Anna (1986). "What's in a noun? (or: How do nouns differ in meaning from adjectives?)". Studies in Language. 10 (2): 353–389. doi:10.1075/sl.10.2.05wie.

External links

Adjectival noun

Adjectival noun may refer to:

Adjectival noun (Japanese), also called adjectival or na-adjective

Noun adjunct, a noun that qualifies another noun, like college in college student

Nominalized adjective, an adjective which has come to function as a noun, as in the rich and the poor


An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, determiner, clause, preposition, or sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?. This function is called the adverbial function, and may be realized by single words (adverbs) or by multi-word expressions (adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses).

Adverbs are traditionally regarded as one of the parts of speech. However, modern linguists note that the term "adverb" has come to be used as a kind of "catch-all" category, used to classify words with various different types of syntactic behavior, not necessarily having much in common except that they do not fit into any of the other available categories (noun, adjective, preposition, etc.)

Article (grammar)

An article (with the linguistic glossing abbreviation ART) is a word that is used with a noun (as a standalone word or a prefix or suffix) to specify grammatical definiteness of the noun, and in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope.

The articles in English grammar are the and a/an, and in certain contexts some. "An" and "a" are modern forms of the Old English "an", which in Anglian dialects was the number "one" (compare "on" in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number "owan". Both "on" (respelled "one" by the Norman language) and "an" survived into Modern English, with "one" used as the number and "an" ("a", before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article.

In many languages, articles are a special part of speech which cannot be easily combined with other parts of speech. In English grammar, articles are frequently considered part of a broader category called determiners, which contains articles, demonstratives (such as "this" and "that"), possessive determiners (such as "my" and "his"), and quantifiers (such as "all" and "few"). Articles and other determiners are also sometimes counted as a type of adjective, since they describe the words that they precede.In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness, definite or indefinite, as an attribute (similar to the way many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number—singular or plural—or a grammatical gender). Articles are among the most common words in many languages; in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.Articles are usually categorized as either definite or indefinite. A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, due to conforming to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case. Articles may also be modified as influenced by adjacent sounds or words as in elision (e.g., French "le" becoming "l'" before a vowel), epenthesis (e.g., English "a" becoming "an" before a vowel), or contraction (e.g. Irish "i + na" becoming "sna").


Boldness is the opposite of fearfulness. To be bold implies a willingness to get things done despite risks. Boldness may be a property that only certain individuals are able to display.

For example, in the context of sociability, a bold person may be willing to risk shame or rejection in social situations, or to bend rules of etiquette or politeness. An excessively bold person could aggressively ask for money, or persistently push someone to fulfill a request.

The word "bold" may also be used as a synonym of "impudent"; for example, a child may be punished for being "bold" by acting disrespectfully toward an adult or by misbehaving.

Boldness may be contrasted with courageousness in that the latter implies having fear but confronting it. An example of personified boldness may be found in the Greco-Roman mythological character Philemon.

Comparison (grammar)

Comparison is a feature in the morphology or syntax of some languages, whereby adjectives and adverbs are inflected or modified to indicate the relative degree of the property defined by the adjective or adverb. The comparative expresses a comparison between two (or more) entities or groups of entities in quality, quantity, or degree; the superlative is the form of an adverb or adjective that is the greatest degree of a given descriptor.

The grammatical category associated with comparison of adjectives and adverbs is degree of comparison. The usual degrees of comparison are the positive, which simply denotes a property (as with the English words big and fully); the comparative, which indicates greater degree (as bigger and more fully); and the superlative, which indicates greatest degree (as biggest and most fully). Some languages have forms indicating a very large degree of a particular quality (called elative in Semitic linguistics). Other languages (e.g. English) can express lesser degree, e.g. beautiful, less beautiful, least beautiful.

The comparative is frequently associated with adjectives and adverbs because these words take the -er suffix or modifying word more or less (e.g., faster, more intelligent, less wasteful); it can also, however, appear when no adjective or adverb is present, for instance with nouns (e.g., more men than women). One preposition, near, also has a superlative form, as in Find the restaurant nearest your house.

Compound (linguistics)

In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (less precisely, a word or sign) that consists of more than one stem. Compounding, composition or nominal composition is the process of word formation that creates compound lexemes. That is, in familiar terms, compounding occurs when two or more words or signs are joined to make one longer word or sign. The meaning of the compound may be similar to or different from the meaning of its components in isolation. The component stems of a compound may be of the same part of speech—as in the case of the English word footpath, composed of the two nouns foot and path—or they may belong to different parts of speech, as in the case of the English word blackbird, composed of the adjective black and the noun bird. With very few exceptions, English compound words are stressed on their first component stem.

The process occurs readily in other Germanic languages for different reasons. Words can be concatenated both to mean the same as the sum of two words (e.g. Pressekonferenz—German for press conference) or where an adjective and noun are compounded (e.g. hvidvinsglas—Danish for white wine glass).

The addition of affix morphemes to words (such as suffixes or prefixes, as in employ → employment) should not be confused with nominal composition, as this is actually morphological derivation.

Some languages easily form compounds from what in other languages would be a multi-word expression. This can result in unusually long words, a phenomenon known in German (which is one such language) as Bandwurmwörter or tapeworm words.

Sign languages also have compounds. They are created by combining two or more sign stems.

Compound modifier

A compound modifier (also called a compound adjective, phrasal adjective, or adjectival phrase) is a compound of two or more attributive words: that is, two or more words that collectively modify a noun. Compound modifiers are grammatically equivalent to single-word modifiers, and can be used in combination with other modifiers. (In the preceding sentence, "single-word" is itself a compound modifier.)

The constituents of compound modifiers need not be adjectives; combinations of nouns, determiners, and other parts of speech are also common. For example, man-eating (shark) and one-way (street). The punctuation of compound modifiers in English depends on their grammatical role. Attributive compounds—modifiers within the noun phrase—are typically hyphenated, whereas the same compounds used as predicates will typically not be (if they are temporary compounds), unless they are permanent compounds attested as dictionary headwords.


Demonstratives (abbreviated DEM) are words, such as this and that, used to indicate which entities are being referred to and to distinguish those entities from others. They are typically deictic; their meaning depending on a particular frame of reference and cannot be understood without context. Demonstratives are often used in spatial deixis (where the speaker or sometimes the listener are to provide context), but also in intra-discourse reference (including abstract concepts) or anaphora, where the meaning is dependent on something other than the relative physical location of the speaker, for example whether something is currently being said or was said earlier.

Demonstrative constructions include demonstrative adjectives or demonstrative determiners, which qualify nouns (as in Put that coat on); and demonstrative pronouns, which stand independently (as in Put that on). The demonstratives in English are this, that, these, those, and the archaic yon and yonder, along with this one or that one as substitutes for the pronoun use of this or that.

Dependent clause

A subordinate clause or dependent clause is a clause that provides a sentence element with additional information, but which cannot stand as a sentence. A dependent clause can either modify an adjacent clause or serve as a component of an independent clause.

The different types of dependent clauses include content clauses (noun clauses), relative (adjectival) clauses, and adverbial clauses.


European, or Europeans, may refer to:

European, an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe

Ethnic groups in Europe

Demographics of Europe

European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western countries

European, an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to the European Union

Citizenship of the European Union

Demographics of the European Union

Europeans (band), a British post-punk group, from Bristol


In chemistry, the adjective ferrous indicates a compound that contains iron in the +2 oxidation state, possibly as the divalent cation Fe2+. It is opposed to "ferric", which indicates presence of iron in a +3 oxidation state, such as the trivalent cation Fe3+. This usage has been largely replaced by the IUPAC nomenclature, which calls for the oxidation state being indicate by Roman numerals in parentheses, such as iron(II) oxide for ferrous oxide (FeO), iron(III) oxide for ferric oxide (Fe2O3), and iron(II,III) oxide for the oxide Fe3O4 that contains both forms of iron.

Outside chemistry, ferrous means generally "containing iron". The word is derived from the Latin word ferrum ("iron"). Ferrous metals include steel and pig iron (with a carbon content of a few percent) and alloys of iron with other metals (such as stainless steel). "Non-ferrous" is used to describe metals and alloys that do not contain an appreciable amount of iron.The term "ferrous" is usually applied only to metals and alloys. The adjective ferruginous is used instead to refer to non-metallic substances that contain iron, such as "ferruginous water"; or to an orangish-brown color resembling that of rust.

Japanese equivalents of adjectives

The Japanese language does not have words that function as adjectives in a syntactic sense – that is to say that tree diagrams of Japanese sentences can be constructed without employing adjective phrases. Nevertheless, Japanese has words that mean the same as English adjectives. This article deals with those words.

Nominative case

The nominative case (abbreviated NOM), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. Generally, the noun "that is doing something" is in the nominative, and the nominative is often the form listed in dictionaries.


An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally private).

A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public administration or government, through either election, appointment, selection, or employment. A bureaucrat or civil servant is a member of the bureaucracy. An elected official is a person who is an official by virtue of an election. Officials may also be appointed ex officio (by virtue of another office, often in a specified capacity, such as presiding, advisory, secretary). Some official positions may be inherited. A person who currently holds an office is referred to as an incumbent.

The word official as a noun has been recorded since the Middle English period, first seen in 1314. It comes from the Old French official (12th century), from the Latin officialis ("attendant to a magistrate, public official"), the noun use of the original adjective officialis ("of or belonging to duty, service, or office") from officium ("office"). The meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty" was first recorded in 1555. The adjective is first attested in English in 1533 via the Old French oficial.

The informal term officialese, the jargon of "officialdom", was first recorded in 1884.

Ordinal number (linguistics)

In linguistics, ordinal numbers (or ordinal numerals) are words representing position or rank in a sequential order; the order may be of size, importance, chronology, and so on (e.g., "third", "tertiary"). They differ from cardinal numerals, which represent quantity (e.g., "three") and other types of numerals. In traditional grammar, all numerals, including ordinal numerals, are grouped into a separate part of speech (Latin: nomen numerale, hence, "noun numeral" in older English grammar books); however, in modern interpretations of English grammar, ordinal numerals are usually conflated with adjectives.

Ordinal numbers may be written in English with numerals and letter suffixes: 1st, 2nd or 2d, 3rd or 3d, 4th, 11th, 21st, 101st, 477th, etc., with the suffix acting as an ordinal indicator. Written dates often omit the suffix, although it is nevertheless pronounced. For example: 5 November 1605 (pronounced "the fifth of November ... "); November 5, 1605, ("November Fifth ..."). When written out in full with "of", however, the suffix is retained: the 5th of November. In other languages, different ordinal indicators are used to write ordinal numbers.

In American Sign Language, the ordinal numbers first through ninth are formed with handshapes similar to those for the corresponding cardinal numbers with the addition of a small twist of the wrist.


"Orwellian" is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth (doublethink), and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson"—a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practised by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four but political doublespeak is criticized throughout his work, such as in Politics and the English Language.The New York Times said the term was "the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a modern writer".


A participle (PTCP) is a form of a verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb phrase, and plays a role similar to an adjective or adverb. It is one of the types of nonfinite verb forms. Its name comes from the Latin participium, a calque of Greek μετοχή (metokhḗ) "partaking" or "sharing"; it is so named because the Ancient Greek and Latin participles "share" some of the categories of the adjective or noun (gender, number, case) and some of those of the verb (tense and voice).

Postpositive adjective

A postpositive or postnominal adjective is an attributive adjective that is placed after the noun or pronoun that it modifies. This contrasts with prepositive adjectives, which come before the noun or pronoun.

In some languages the postpositive placement of adjectives is the normal syntax, but in English it is less usual, largely confined to archaic and poetic uses (as in They heard wights unseen), phrases borrowed from Romance languages or Latin (such as heir apparent, aqua regia), and certain particular grammatical constructions (as in those anxious to leave).Recognizing postpositive adjectives in English is important for determining the correct plural for a compound expression. For example, because martial is a postpositive adjective in the phrase court-martial, the plural is courts-martial, the ending being attached to the noun rather than the adjective.

Procedural law

Procedural law, adjective law, or rules of court comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil, lawsuit, criminal or administrative proceedings. The rules are designed to ensure a fair and consistent application of due process (in the U.S.) or fundamental justice (in other common law countries) to all cases that come before a court.

Substantive law, which refers to the actual claim and defense whose validity is tested through the procedures of procedural law, is different from procedural law.

In the context of procedural law, procedural rights may also refer not exhaustively to rights to information, access to justice, and rights to public participation, with those rights encompassing, general civil and political rights. In environmental law, these procedural Rights have been reflected within the UNECE Convention on "Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters" known as the Aarhus Convention (1998).

Lexical categories and their features

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