The definition of an expletive is a crude or obscene expression, or an unnecessary word or phrase used to fill space in a sentence for grammar or rhythm purposes.noun
- An example of an expletive is saying "damn it."
- An example of an expletive is adding "it is" in the sentence "time for us to eat."
- an oath or exclamation, esp. an obscenity
- a word, phrase, etc. not needed for the sense but used merely to fill out a sentence or metrical line, for grammar, rhythm, balance, etc.: there in “there is nothing left” is an expletive
- Rare anything serving as a filler
Origin: LL expletivus, serving to fill < L expletus, pp. of explere, to fill < ex-, out, up + plere, to fill: see full
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- An exclamation or oath, especially one that is profane, vulgar, or obscene.
- a. A word or phrase that does not contribute any meaning but is added only to fill out a sentence or a metrical line.b. Linguistics A word or other grammatical element that has no meaning but is needed to fill a syntactic position, such as the words it and there in the sentences It's raining and There are many books on the table.
Origin: From Late Latin explētīvus, serving to fill out, from Latin explētus, past participle of explēre, to fill out : ex-, ex- + plēre, to fill; see pelə-1 in Indo-European roots.
expletive - Cultural Definition
Any exclamation or oath, especially one that is obscene or profane, as in “Dammit, I forgot to buy the milk.”