n. Abbr. a. or adj.
1. The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.
2. Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as white in the phrase a white house.
1. Adjectival: an adjective clause.
2. Law Specifying the processes by which rights are enforced, as opposed to the establishing of such rights; remedial: adjective law.
3. Not standing alone; derivative or dependent.
[Middle English, from Old French adjectif, from Late Latin adiectīvus, from adiectus, past participle of adicere, to add to : ad-, ad- + iacere, to throw; see yē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.