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formative

[fawr-muh-tiv] /ˈfɔr mə tɪv/
adjective
1.
giving form or shape; forming; shaping; fashioning; molding:
a formative process in manufacturing.
2.
pertaining to formation or development:
a child's most formative years.
3.
Biology.
  1. capable of developing new cells or tissue by cell division and differentiation:
    formative tissue.
  2. concerned with the formation of an embryo, organ, or the like.
4.
Grammar. pertaining to a formative.
noun
5.
Grammar. a derivational affix, particularly one that determines the part of speech of the derived word, as -ness, in loudness, hardness, etc.
6.
Linguistics. (in generative grammar) any element, as a word, affix, or inflectional ending, functioning as a minimal syntactic unit that can be used in forming larger constructions.
Origin of formative
1480-1490
1480-90; < Middle French formatif. See formation, -ive
Related forms
formatively, adverb
formativeness, noun
nonformative, adjective
nonformatively, adverb
subformative, adjective
subformatively, adverb
subformativeness, noun
unformative, adjective
Can be confused
formative, formidable.
Synonyms
2. receptive, impressionable, susceptible.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for formative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The patristic was the formative and, in a sense, conclusive period of Christian theology.

  • In its literal sense Bildung implies a shaping and formative action.

    The New Society Walther Rathenau
  • In these formative years of ungainly figure and uncertain dreaming the poet grows out of the boy.

    Paul Verlaine Stefan Zweig
  • All the preceding exercises are "formative" for the art of drawing.

  • The Church, however, during this trying, formative period was the moral ark of safety for Europe.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
British Dictionary definitions for formative

formative

/ˈfɔːmətɪv/
adjective
1.
of or relating to formation, development, or growth: formative years
2.
shaping; moulding: a formative experience
3.
(of tissues and cells in certain parts of an organism) capable of growth and differentiation
4.
functioning in the formation of derived, inflected, or compound words
noun
5.
an inflectional or derivational affix
6.
(in generative grammar) any of the minimum units of a sentence that have syntactic function
Derived Forms
formatively, adverb
formativeness, noun
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 formative
adj.

late 15c., from Middle French formatif, from Latin format-, past participle stem of formare (see form (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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