having a tendency to babble; loquacious





This adjective is composed of the verb babble and the suffix -ative.

The English suffix -ative is from the French -atif (masculine), -ative (feminine), from the Latin -ativus, consisting of the adjectival suffix -ivus appended to past participial stems in -at- of verbs ending in -are, such as demonstrare, to point out, hence the adjective demonstrativus, meaning having the attribute or habit of pointing out, tending to point out.

In English, in the majority of instances, as in demonstrate-demonstrative, adjectives in -ative belong to verbs ending in -ate. Cases like represent-representative, affirm-affirmative, figure-figurative, in which the English verb represents, through French, the present stem of the Latin, have afforded a formal analogy for talk-talkative, babble-babblative and scribble-scribblative.

A few adjectives of this class are moreover formed directly from nouns in -ty, as if from an intervening verb in -tate, which does not exist. For example, through a non-existing authoritate, the adjective authoritative is from the noun authority.


The adjective babblative is first recorded in The touchstone of complexions generallye appliable, expedient and profitable for all such, as be desirous & carefull of their bodylye health (1576), the translation by the Church of England clergyman Thomas Newton (1544/5-1607) of De habitu et constitutione corporis (1561), by the Dutch physician Levine Lemnie (1505-68):

As Wyne produceth and causeth sundry, & the same verye ridiculous fashions according to the seuerall nature of euery man, and according to the effect and operation of the Wyne it selfe, (for one force and effecte hath Spanishe wyne, an other French, an other, Maluesye, an other Corsycke, and an other Rhenish) so Melancholie causeth diuers maners and sundry constitutions. And hereuppō in the Dutch phrase of speach, there are reckened vp certaine conditions and delightes of Drunken men. Some beinge cupshot [= intoxicated], are contentious & brawling: Some stil, and neuer a woorde but mumme: Some verye babblatiue and keeping a foule coyle [= making an abominable fuss]: some weeping, howling and heauy couraged. Yea some of this beastly Crew we see to be threatners, cruel, bitter, fierce, spightful, arrogant, selfwilled, vainglorious, proude, wanton, lasciuious, toying, full of foolishe gesture, vnquiet, vnstable, geeuen to carnall Luste, and loues desire.

In Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829), the English poet and reviewer Robert Southey (1774-1843) wrote of “professors of the arts Babblative and Scribblative”.

i.P. audAx used babblative in Relapse and Rescuers (2014):

A Relative


It’s insidiously annoying
the way he
cleaves to conversation
on a one-way track.


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