Definition of ergative adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈɜːɡətɪv//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈɜːrɡətɪv//
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(of verbs) able to be used in both a transitive and an intransitive way with the same meaning, where the object of the transitive verb is the same as the subject of the intransitive verb The verb ‘grow’ is ergative because you can say ‘She grew flowers in her garden’ or ‘Flowers grew in her garden’. compare causative, inchoative Word Origin1950s: from Greek ergatēs ‘worker’ (from ergon ‘work’) + -ive.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ergative