Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for -ive in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
From Anglo-Norman -if (feminine -ive), from Latin -ivus. Until the fourteenth century all Middle English loanwords from Anglo-Norman ended in -if (compare actif, natif, sensitif, pensif etc.), and under the influence of literary Neolatin both languages introduced the form -ive. Those forms that have not been replaced were subsequently changed to end in -y (compare hasty, from hastif, jolly, from jolif etc.).
Like the Latin suffix -io (genitive -ionis), Latin suffix -ivus is appended to the perfect passive participle to form an adjective of action.
- An adjective suffix signifying relating or belonging to, of the nature of, tending to; as affirmative, active, conclusive, corrective, diminutive.
- -ive in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- Miller, D. Gary (2006) Latin Suffixal Derivatives in English and Their Indo-European Ancestry, Oxford University Press, page 204