A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ad-i-tiv] /ˈæd ɪ tɪv/
something that is added, as one substance to another, to alter or improve the general quality or to counteract undesirable properties:
an additive that thins paint.
  1. Also called food additive. a substance added directly to food during processing, as for preservation, coloring, or stabilization.
  2. something that becomes part of food or affects it as a result of packaging or processing, as debris or radiation.
characterized or produced by addition; cumulative:
an additive process.
Mathematics. (of a function) having the property that the function of the union or sum of two quantities is equal to the sum of the functional values of each quantity; linear.
1690-1700; < Late Latin additīvus. See additament, -ive
Related forms
additively, adverb
interadditive, adjective
subadditive, adjective
subadditively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for additives
  • No sulfites or other additives go into natural wine.
  • Many are pre-brined and have lots of other additives.
  • But there are dozens of so-called bioactive plastic additives that can affect proteins and other biological materials.
  • He has turned to lab equipment and industrial food additives, pursuing quirky juxtapositions of flavor and texture.
  • Checking food labels for additives becomes part of a lacto-ovo vegetarian's shopping habits.
  • These agencies post periodic alerts about hazards in food-chemical contaminants, food additives, unlabeled allergenic ingredients.
  • Plasticizers are additives normally used to make plastic and other nonfood products more pliable.
  • Pollution and a diet containing food additives have contributed to about half the old tigers dying of cancers.
  • Humans could turn its ash into a benefit, such as fertilizer or additives to strengthen pottery clay.
  • Species found in the deep sea are used as additives in cosmetic products and also in food.
British Dictionary definitions for additives


characterized or produced by addition; cumulative
any substance added to something to improve it, prevent deterioration, etc
short for food additive
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin additīvus, from addere to add
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for additives



1690s, "tending to be added," from Latin additivus "added, annexed," from past participle stem of addere (see addition).


"something that is added" to a chemical solution or food product, 1945, from additive (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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additives in Medicine

additive ad·di·tive (ād'ĭ-tĭv)
A substance added in small amounts to something else to improve, strengthen, or otherwise alter it.

ad'di·tive adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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additives in Science
Noun  A substance added in small amounts to something else to improve, strengthen, or otherwise alter it. Additives are used for a variety of reasons. They are added to food, for example, to enhance taste or color or to prevent spoilage. They are added to gasoline to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and to plastics to enhance molding capability.

  1. Relating to the production of color by the mixing of light rays of varying wavelengths. ◇ The additive primaries red, green, and blue are those colors whose wavelengths can be mixed in different proportions to produce all other spectral colors. Compare subtractive. See Note at color.

  2. Mathematics Marked by, produced by, or involving addition.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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