Expletive Definition

ĕksplĭ-tĭv
expletives
noun
expletives
An oath or exclamation, esp. an obscenity.
Webster's New World
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.
Webster's New World
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.
American Heritage
Anything serving as a filler.
Webster's New World
adjective
Used to fill out a sentence, line, etc.
Webster's New World

Serving to fill up, merely for effect, otherwise redundant.

Wiktionary
Marked by expletives (phrase-fillers).
Wiktionary
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Other Word Forms of Expletive

Noun

Singular:
expletive
Plural:
expletives

Origin of Expletive

  • From Late Latin explētīvus serving to fill out from Latin explētus past participle of explēre to fill out ex- ex- plēre to fill pelə-1 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Late Latin explētīvus (“serving to fill out”), from Latin explētus, the perfect passive participle of expleō (“fill out”), itself from ex (“out, completely”) + *pleō (“fill”).

    From Wiktionary

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