ABLATIVE, in Grammar, the sixth Case of Nouns. See CASE.

The Ablative is opposite to the Dative ; the first expressing the Aaion of taking away, and the latter that of giving. See DATIVE.

The Word is Latin, form'd ab auferendo, taking away. Priscian also calls it the Comparative Case ; as serving, among the Latins, for comparing, as well as taking away.

The Ablative scarce answers to the just Idea of a Case ; at lead, it is the most vague of all others. 'Twill be shewn in its Place, that the English, and other modern Tongues, have properly no such thing as Cases : but even in the antient Languages, from which the Notion of Cases is borrow'd, the Ablative is only a sort of Supernumerary, or Supplement to the Cases.

The five proper Cases not being sound sufficient to express all the Relations of Things to each other recourse was had to an expedient ; viz. the putting a Preposition before some of the other Cases ; and this made the Ablative. See PREPOSITION.

It may be added, that in the plural Number, the Ablative is still more obscure ; as being only the Dative repeared.

In English, we have no precise Mark whereby to distinguish the Ablative from other Cases ; and we only use the Term in analogy to the Latin. Thus, in the two Phrases, "The Magnificence of the City", and "He spoke much of the City" ; we say, that "of the City" in the first is Genitive, and in the latter Ablative : by reason it would be so, is the two Phrases were express'd in Latin.