Definition of optative in English:


Pronunciation /ˈäptədiv/ /ˈɑptədɪv/


  • Relating to or denoting a mood of verbs in Greek and other languages, expressing a wish, equivalent to English expressions if only.

    ‘This is not simply to avoid criticisms of judgment speech by translating it from the indicative to the optative mood.’
    • ‘The old neoplatonic shadow of what Emerson in ‘The Transcendentalist’ calls an ‘optative mood,’ reconciling textual particular and idealist consciousness, is not as far away here as one might initially imagine.’
    • ‘The second sentence transforms the first from an indicative statement of fact into something more like an optative expression of desire.’


  • 1A verb in the optative mood.

    • ‘It is difficult not to grin, if Ptolemaic land-leases or Greek optatives or German monographs make you giddy.’
    1. 1.1the optativeThe optative mood.


Mid 16th century from French optatif, -ive, from late Latin optativus, from optat- ‘chosen’, from the verb optare (see opt).