1. Of or relating to a language, such as Georgian, in which the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are expressed by one grammatical case, and the subject of a transitive verb is expressed by another.
2. Of or relating to the grammatical case of the subject of a transitive verb in such a language.
1. The ergative case.
2. An ergative inflection.
3. A nominal having an ergative form.
[From Greek ergatēs, worker, from ergon, work; see werg- 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.