- late 14c., as an adjective, "adjectival," in noun adjective, from Old French adjectif (14c.), from Latin adjectivum "that is added to (the noun)," neuter of adjectivus "added," from past participle of adicere "to throw or place (a thing) near," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + comb. form of iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Also as a noun from late 14c. (adjectives not clearly distinguished from nouns in Middle English). In 19c. Britain, the word itself often was a euphemism for the taboo adjective bloody.
They ... slept until it was cool enough to go out with their 'Towny,' whose vocabulary contained less than six hundred words, and the Adjective. [Kipling, "Soldiers Three," 1888]