Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Expressing a wish or choice.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a mood of verbs in some languages, such as Greek, used to express a wish.
  • adj. Grammar Designating a statement using a verb in the subjunctive mood to indicate a wish or desire, as in Had I the means, I would do it.
  • n. Grammar The optative mood.
  • n. Grammar A verb or an expression in the optative mood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. expressing a wish or a choice.
  • adj. related or pertaining to the optative mood.
  • n. a mood of verbs found in some languages (e.g. Old Prussian, Ancient Greek), used to express a wish. English has no inflexional optative mood, but it has modal verbs like "might" and "may" that express possibility.
  • n. a verb or expression in the optative mood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Expressing desire or wish.
  • n. Something to be desired.
  • n. The optative mood; also, a verb in the optative mood.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Expressing or expressive of desire or wish.
  • Expressing wish or desire by a distinct grammatical form; pertaining to or constituting the mode named from this use: as, the optative mode; optative constructions.
  • n. Something to be desired.
  • n. In grammar, the optative mode of a verb. Abbreviated opt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. relating to a mood of verbs in some languages
  • n. a mood (as in Greek or Sanskrit) that expresses a wish or hope; expressed in English by modal verbs
  • adj. indicating an option or wish

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English optatif, from Old French, from Late Latin optātīvus, from Latin optātus, past participle of optāre, to wish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English optatif, from Old French, from Late Latin optātīvus, from Latin optātus (past participle of optāre, "to wish")

Examples

  • Greek has a particular mood called the optative mood.

    Archive 2008-12-14

  • Likewise *-i is absent in all other irrealis moods ie. the optative, and likely too, the subjunctive.

    The PIE *to-participle in my subjective-objective model

  • So presumably if *h₁i-yéh₁-n̥t 'they should go' is the optative of an objective verb like *h₁y-énti 'they go', then theoretically *ḱéi-ih₁-th₂e 'you should lie down' rather than later *ḱéi-ih₁-s would have originally been the optative of *ḱéi-th₂or 'you lie down'.

    Interesting quirks of a PIE subjective-objective model

  • However, when developing his general theory of speech acts, Austin abandoned the constative/performative distinction, the reason being that it is not so clear in what sense something is done e.g. by means of an optative utterance, expressing a wish, whereas nothing is done by means of an assertoric one.

    Him

  • First of all, the 1ps subjunctive is typically understood to simply be *(-o)-oh₂ (although Jasanoff convincingly argues for a purely "athematic"1 *-oh₂ in the earliest stage of PIE, contrasting with present indicative *-mi) and the 1ps optative is normally *-yeh₁m.

    Lehmann's dismissal of PIE *swe

  • Thus the importance to it of the subjunctive or optative mood.

    Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

  • Imperative (prejective), conjunctive or optative (subjective), preterite or perfect (trajective), neutral indicative (objective) are grammatical necessities arising out of times and spaces.

    Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

  • Menger, Karl, 1939, "A logic of the doubtful: On optative and imperative logic," in Reports of a Mathematical Colloquium,

    Mally's Deontic Logic

  • The language of vainglory, of indignation, pity and revengefulness, optative: but of the desire to know, there is a peculiar expression called interrogative; as, What is it, when shall it, how is it done, and why so?

    Leviathan

  • Why on earth would endings used in present-futures be associated with the semantics of a subjunctive yet absent in the optative if both the subjunctive and optative convey future reference through the lense of potentiality and desire?

    The headache of the Indo-European subjunctive

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