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
He is the depressed visitor of the sick, who must needs beware, and be provided
  with preservatives.
Because the leg bone was deliberately broken in the field, no preservatives
  were added.
For example the falsified claim that vaccine preservatives cause autism.
If you must get syrupy, choose ones with no preservatives or artificial flavors.
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