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caress +‎ -ive.



caressive (comparative more caressive, superlative most caressive)

  1. Having the nature of a caress; gentle, soothing.
    Synonyms: comforting, emollient, mollifying
  2. (linguistics) Of a diminutive: indicating affection or endearment.
    • 1801 September 1, Canakin [pseudonym], “Desultory Comments on Mason’s Supplement to Johnson’s Dictionary”, in The Monthly Magazine, or British Register, volume XII, part II, number 77, London: Printed for Richard Phillips, [], OCLC 1013453163, page 98, column 1:
      All diminutives eaſily acquire a careſſive character, as animula, ocellus, &c. the Greeks even called their diminutives ὐποκρισικα; and the ſofter form, lin, rather than kin, would moſt naturally be ſo appropriated.
    • 1827, James Heard, A Practical Grammar of the Russian Language, St. Petersburg: Printed for the author, and sold by Sleunine, and by Boosey and Sons London, OCLC 42072387, § 69, page 66:
      Russian diminutives are of two kinds: caressive and contemptuous; ex. домъ, a house, до́микъ, a pretty little house, домѝшко, a miserable hut.
    • 1830, David Booth, “Introduction”, in An Analytical Dictionary of the English Language; [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed and published by J. and C. Adlard, [], OCLC 614285586, page xliii:
      Ling (a termination inherited from the Anglo-Saxons,) is either a diminutive, as little, or descriptive of family, as kind. Hence we have darling, (or dearling,) firstling, foundling, gosling, &c. Some of these have a caressive signification, by recalling to our minds the simplicity of childhood.
    • 2015, Fatma Şahan Güney, “Eurasia [Tatar]”, in Nicola Grandi and Lívia Körtvélyessy, editors, Edinburgh Handbook of Evaluative Morphology, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, →ISBN, part II, page 312:
      Caressive forms and endearments, which are used when addressing somene in an affectionate way, are frequently formed by attaching -kAy to words conveying precious or valued things: (6) a. altın-kay-ım / gold-dim-1pos / 'my precious'

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Related terms[edit]



caressive (plural caressives)

  1. (linguistics) A type of diminutive indicating affection or endearment.
    • 1896, Alexander Francis Chamberlain, “The Name Child”, in The Child and Childhood in Folk-thought: (The Child in Primitive Culture), New York, N.Y.; London: Macmillan and Co., OCLC 938243939, page 88:
      [W]e, like the ancient Mexicans and many another lower race, have terms of praise and endearment,—"a jewel of a babe," and the like,—legions of caressives and diminutives in the use of which some of the Low German dialects are more lavish even than Lowland Scotch.
    • 2010, Mariza Georgalou, “Pathfinding Discourses of Self in Social Network Sites”, in Rotimi Taiwo, editor, Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction: Language Structures and Social Interaction, volume I, Hershey, Pa.: Information Science Reference, →ISBN, section 1 (Discursive Behavior and Social Interaction), page 51, column 1:
      An interesting characteristic of the following extracts is the abundance of diminutives also termed “caressives” in Greek. -άκι, -ίτσα and -ούλα here are derivational suffixes for indexing the diminutive and their use indicates affection, endearment and solidarity serving thus as markers of informal positive politeness [].
    • 2015, Fatma Şahan Güney, “Eurasia [Tatar]”, in Nicola Grandi and Lívia Körtvélyessy, editors, Edinburgh Handbook of Evaluative Morphology, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, →ISBN, part II, page 312:
      One another suffix used as a caressive and appellative is -(l)y. Like -kAy, it is attached to kinship terms, generally to the ones expressing closer relationships.


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