- an adjective or complement to certain auxiliaries that is regularly derived from the verb in many languages and refers to participation in the action or state of the verb; a verbal form used as an adjective. It does not specify person or number in English, but may have a subject or object, show tense, etc., as burning, in a burning candle, or devoted in his devoted friend.
- a nonfinite form of verbs, in English and other languages, used adjectivally and in the formation of certain compound tensesSee also present participle, past participle
n.late 14c., “a noun-adjective,” from Old French participle (13c.), variant of participe, from Latin participium, literally “a sharing, partaking,” from particeps “sharing, partaking” (see participation). In grammatical sense, the Latin translates Greek metokhe “sharer, partaker,” and the notion is of a word “partaking” of the nature of both a noun and an adjective. The verb form that combines with an auxiliary verb to indicate certain tenses. The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the infinitive; it indicates present action: “The girl is swimming”; “I am thinking.” (Compare gerund.) The past participle usually ends in -ed; it indicates completed or past action: “The gas station has closed”; “The mayor had spoken.” Participles may also function as adjectives: “Your mother is a charming person”; “This is a talking parrot”; “Spoken words cannot be revoked.”