1. A part of speech partaking of the nature both verb and adjective; a form of a verb, or verbal adjective, modifying a noun, but taking the adjuncts of the verb from which it is derived. In the sentences: a letter is written; being asleep he did not hear; exhausted by toil he will sleep soundly, written, being, and exhaustedare participles. "By a participle, [I understand] a verb in an adjectival aspect." (Earle)
Present participles, called also imperfect, or incomplete, participles, end in -ing. Past participles, called also perfect, or complete, participles, for the most part end in -ed, -d, -t, -en, or -n. A participle when used merely as an attribute of a noun, without reference to time, is called an adjective, or a participial adjective; as, a written constitution; a rolling stone; the exhausted army. The verbal noun in -ing has the form of the present participle. See Verbal noun, under Verbal.
Origin: F. Participe, L. Participium, fr. Particeps sharing, participant; pars, gen. Partis, a part + capere to take. See Participate.
(01 Mar 1998)
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