Ablative case

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An ablative case is a case that expresses the orientational meaning '(away) from'.


Huallaga Quechua mayu-pita '(away) from the river'


The term ablative has long been used primarily for Latin, where the 'away from' meaning is only one of many uses, and in fact other uses (such as the instrumental and manner uses) are more prominent in Latin. Still, when used in other languages, the term ablative generally implies the meaning 'away from'.


Other cases with the same orientational meaning 'away from', but with an additional locational meaning, are the delative 'off' (= 'away from the surface'), the elative 'out of' (= 'away from the inside'), the subelative, and so on. These can be regarded as more specific subtypes of ablative.


The term is formed from the Latin prefix ab- 'away from' plus the root lat- 'carry'. It is first attested in English in the 15th century, and the Latin form casus ablativus is said to have been coined by Julius Caesar (OED s.v.).

See also

ablative absolute

Other languages


Oxford English Dictionary