1. Involving or characterized by description; serving to describe.
2. Concerned with classification or description: a descriptive science.
a. Expressing an attribute of the modified noun, as green in green grass. Used of an adjective or adjectival clause.
4. Linguistics Of or relating to the study or the description of a language or a specific stage of a language, with emphasis on constructing a grammar without regard to historical development, comparison with other languages, or advocated norms for correct or proper usage.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.