Say A does something to B that causes B to have an additional trait.

For example, A cooks B to add the trait "cooked" to B; A damages B to add the trait "damaged"; or A hugs B to add "hugged"; etc. as in "B is cooked/damaged/hugged".

What is a word to describe A? ...I'm thinking "applicator"? The main effect that I'm going for is that A is adding something new to B's list of adjectives.

EDIT: the word for the action that A takes, ie. "drive", needn't be the root word for the trait that B is given, ie. "driven", which is a valid interpretation of how I posed the question. I am, however, looking for the general term, just to clarify :D

  • It doesn't always work like that. You can drive your son to school every day, but this may never cause him to acquire the trait of being driven [to achieve his objectives]. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 19:54
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    @FumbleFingers I don't think OP is suggesting it would work with every verb, no need to complicate things!
    – Mynamite
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 19:56
  • @Mynamite: The number of contexts where it doesn't apply are so tiny compared to the number where it does that I don't think I've significantly enlarged the scope here. I've no idea if there's a specific term for using past participle of "active/agent" verb to adjectivally describe "post-action" state of "patient" noun, but even if there is, it could probably be usefully contrasted with cases where that doesn't apply. I've also no idea whether a rusted bolt counts, since although it's been "acted upon", there is no "agent" A who actually rusted it. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 20:08
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    ...looking again at the OP's examples, I'm having difficulty imagining in what circumstances you might refer to a hugged B, after A hugs B. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 20:18
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    @FumbleFingers I think it's the quality of having been hugged rather than referring to someone as a 'hugged' person. In any case, OP is asking for a word for person A, not adjectives for person B.
    – Mynamite
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


If A is causing a change to B's description, A is modifying B, which makes A a modifier.

(Perhaps unfortunately, this term can also be used for the traits themselves; they are modifiers to the word or term B.)

  • ahh, you beat me by a hair. good job.
    – Yeshe
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 20:06

I'm going to make something up for you: agent of change. It might not be the final term you end up with, but I hope it at least gets you closer.

(I don't think modifier does what you've asked for because it's not active enough.)


A thing that changes something could be said to be a modifier, and I think that adding a trait would constitute a change. More data and I may be able to find a better term.

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