The Meaning of Adjective: What It Is and How To Use It

You use adjectives every day. But what is the meaning of adjective? This article will teach you everything about this fascinating part of speech.

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Commas, prepositions, adverbs, linking verbs — there are so many parts of speech, it can be dizzying! This article will dive into all of the different types of adjectives and how to use them. If you have ever wondered how to use adjectives to create engaging writing, read on!

What Does Adjective Mean?

According to Dictionary, an adjective is a part of speech that modifies nouns and pronouns. An adjective describes a noun and is a word that shows the quality, amount, and more of a noun or pronoun. Funnily enough, the word adjective is actually a noun! The adjective form of the word adjective is adjectival.

There are several kinds of adjectives that you might come across when reading or writing. The order of adjectives is also important in the English language. The correct order for listing multiple adjectives is a determiner, opinion and observation, size, shape, age, color, root or origin, material, and qualifier. 

While it is not technically incorrect to order your adjectives differently in an adjective clause or adjective phrase, it may sound funny to a native English speaker.

Superlative Adjectives

Many adjectives have different superlative forms that compare one thing to another thing. These are also sometimes called comparative adjectives. You might also hear superlatives referred to as -er and -est adjectives. 

One example of a set of superlatives might be tall, taller, tallest. These adjectives can compare many different subjects.

Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives are words that show a person which pronoun or noun you are speaking about. There are four different demonstrative adjectives in English: that, this, those, and these. This and these refer to objects or things that are nearby, while that and those point to things that are far away.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives denote belonging. The most common possessive adjectives in the English language are mine, your, her, his, their, and our. A possessive adjective is named as such because it shows possession.

Descriptive Adjectives

Finally, descriptive adjectives are some of the most common types of adjectives. As the name implies, these adjectives provide a description of a word, which is often a quality or attribute such as size, personality trait, or color,

Spot the Adjective in a Sentence

The first step toward understanding adjectives is identification. In these example sentences, see if you can find examples of adjectives. Then, see if you can identify who or what they describe. Finally, try to use adjectives in your own sentences!

Example #1: Clowning Around

The silly clown arrived at the birthday party and made all of the children laugh except for one. The birthday boy was scared of the clown.

Question: What adjective describes the clown in the above sentence?

Answer: The word silly describes the clown.

Example #2: A Summer Day

We walked around the water park on the hot, dry summer day, desperate to cool off. We finally found some relief when we went down the twisty water slide.

Question: What adjective describes the summer day and the water slide in the above sentence?

Answer: The words hot and dry describe the summer day. The word twisty describes the water slide.

Example #3: The Exam

The children left the difficult exam in tears and they feared that they had all failed.

Question: What adjective describes the exam in the above sentence?

Answer: The word difficult describes the exam.

What Are Translations of Adjective?

Languages worldwide use adjectives. After all, a lot of written work and conversations would be very boring if there were no adjectives! The word adjective in English grammar comes from the Latin adjectivus, which also serves as the basis for words in other languages. 

Can you spot which translations of adjective from Nice Translator also come from this Latin root?

  • Ukrainian: прикметник
  • Lithuanian: būdvardis
  • Slovak: prídavné meno
  • Hungarian: melléknév
  • Japanese: 形容詞
  • Urdu: صفت
  • Marathi: विशेषण
  • Welsh: ansoddair
  • Malay: kata sifat
  • Norwegian: adjektiv
  • Chinese (PRC): 形容词
  • Portuguese (Brazil): adjetivo
  • Danish: adjektiv
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 形容詞
  • Amharic: ቅፅል
  • Swahili: kivumishi
  • Swedish: adjektiv
  • Greek: επίθετο
  • Polish: przymiotnik
  • Vietnamese: tính từ
  • Icelandic: lýsingarorð
  • Romanian: adjectiv
  • French: adjectif
  • Korean: 형용사
  • Arabic: الصفة
  • Tamil: பெயரடை
  • Finnish: adjektiivi
  • Malayalam: നാമവിശേഷണം
  • Czech: přídavné jméno
  • Russian: имя прилагательное
  • Portuguese (Portugal): adjetivo
  • Bulgarian: прилагателно
  • Catalan: adjectiu
  • Croatian: pridjev
  • Slovenian: pridevnik
  • Indonesian: kata sifat
  • Telugu: విశేషణం
  • Hindi: विशेषण
  • Dutch: bijvoeglijk naamwoord
  • Spanish: adjetivo
  • Basque: adjetibo
  • Estonian: omadussõna
  • Turkish: sıfat
  • Serbian: придев
  • Filipino: pang -uri
  • Italian: aggettivo
  • German: Adjektiv
  • Kannada: ಗುಣವಾಚಕ
  • Bengali: বিশেষণ
  • Gujarati: વિશેષણ
  • Thai: คุณศัพท์
  • Hebrew: תוֹאַר
  • Latvian: īpašības vārds

What Are Synonyms of Adjective?

An adjective serves as a descriptor for a noun. If you are trying to think of different ways to refer to a descriptor or attribute, you can reference this list of synonyms from Power Thesaurus

The word adjective has an academic connotation that might not be appropriate for a casual conversation, so it can be useful to know several synonyms for adjective!

  • affection
  • allocation
  • article
  • aspect
  • attribute
  • brand
  • case
  • cast
  • character
  • characteristic
  • circumstance
  • component
  • consideration
  • constituent
  • credit
  • description
  • descriptor
  • detail
  • disposition
  • distinction
  • earmark
  • element
  • essence
  • facet
  • fact
  • factor
  • feature
  • habit
  • hallmark
  • idiosyncrasy
  • indication
  • ingredient
  • item
  • mark
  • material
  • note
  • part
  • particular
  • particularity
  • peculiarity
  • personality
  • point
  • property
  • quality
  • quirk
  • reputation
  • respect
  • side
  • sign
  • sort
  • specific
  • step
  • temper
  • tendency
  • thing
  • trait
  • type
  • unit
  • virtue


The definition of adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. There are several forms of this fascinating word of the day. See if you can spot the different types of adjectives that people use in daily life! You might find that you hear the same adjectives frequently.


  1. 327 Noun Synonyms for Attribute | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Adjective Definition & Meaning |
  3. What Is an Adjective? Meaning and Usage | Your Dictionary  
  4. Adjective | Nice Translator 
  5. Types of Adjectives: 12 Different Forms to Know | Your Dictionary