a. Relating to, based on, or involving comparison.
b. Of or relating to the scientific or historical comparison of different phenomena, institutions, or objects, such as languages, legal systems, or anatomical structures, in an effort to understand their origins or relationships.
- Estimated by comparison; relative: a comparative newcomer.
- Grammar Of, relating to, or being the intermediate degree of comparison of adjectives, as better, sweeter, or more wonderful, or adverbs, as more softly.
- The comparative degree.
- An adjective or adverb expressing the comparative degree.
Related Forms:Our Living Language
Speakers of vernacular dialects often use double comparatives and superlatives such as more higher
and most fastest.
Although such constructions may seem redundant or even illogical, in reality both standard and nonstandard varieties of all languages are replete with such constructions. In English the redundant comparative dates back to the 1500s. Prior to this, in Old and Middle English, suffixes, rather than a preceding more
almost always marked the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs, regardless of word length. In the Early Modern English period (c. 1500-1800), more
constructions became more common. The Modern English rule governing the distribution of -er/-est
had not yet arisen, and such forms as eminenter, impudentest,
occurred together with constructions like more near, most poor,
and most foul.
Double markings were commonly used to indicate special emphasis, and they do not appear to have been socially disfavored. In fact, even Shakespeare used double comparatives and superlatives, as in Mark Antony's statement “This was the most unkindest cut of all”
from Julius Caesar.
Nowadays, although double comparatives and superlatives are not considered standard usage, they are kept alive in vernacular dialects. See Notes at might2