In grammar, the dative case (abbreviated dat, or sometimes d when it is a core argument) is a grammatical case used in some languages to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action, as in "Maria Jacobo potum dedit", Latin for "Maria gave Jacob a drink". In this example, the dative marks what would be considered the indirect object of a verb in English.
Sometimes the dative has functions unrelated to giving. In Scottish Gaelic and Irish, the term dative case is used in traditional grammars to refer to the prepositional case-marking of nouns following simple prepositions and the definite article. In Georgian and Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu), the dative case can also mark the subject of a sentence. This is called the dative construction. In Hindi, the dative construction is not limited to only certain verbs or tenses and it can be used with any verb in any tense or mood.
The dative was common among early Indo-European languages and has survived to the present in the Balto-Slavic branch and the Germanic branch, among others. It also exists in similar forms in several non-Indo-European languages, such as the Uralic family of languages. In some languages, the dative case has assimilated the functions of other, now extinct cases. In Ancient Greek, the dative has the functions of the Proto-Indo-European locative and instrumental as well as those of the original dative.
Under the influence of English, which uses the preposition "to" for (among other uses) both indirect objects (give to) and directions of movement (go to), the term "dative" has sometimes been used to describe cases that in other languages would more appropriately be called lative.