something that preserves or tends to preserve.
a chemical substance used to preserve foods or other organic materials from decomposition or fermentation.
tending to preserve.

1350–1400; Middle English (adj. and noun) < Middle French preservatif (adj.) < Medieval Latin praeservātīvus. See preserve, -ative

nonpreservative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
preservative (prɪˈzɜːvətɪv)
1.  something that preserves or tends to preserve, esp a chemical added to foods to inhibit decomposition
2.  tending or intended to preserve

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

preservative pre·ser·va·tive (prĭ-zûr'və-tĭv)
A substance added to food products or to organic solutions to prevent decomposition due to chemical change or bacterial action.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Many of the samples fixed in celloidin also float in a liquid preservative that
  is probably formaldehyde or alcohol.
Salt not only enhances taste but also acts as a preservative and adds texture.
Hops was added as a preservative when it was transported away from the brewing
Let deck dry for two days before applying a clear wood preservative with
  mildewcides and ultraviolet-light inhibitors.
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