additive

adjective
ad·​di·​tive | \ ˈa-də-tiv \

Definition of additive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by addition an additive process
2 : produced by addition
3 : characterized by, being, or producing effects (such as drug responses or gene products) that when the causative factors act together are the sum of their individual effects

additive

noun

Definition of additive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance added to another in relatively small amounts to effect a desired change in properties food additives

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from additive

Adjective

additively adverb
additivity \ ˌa-​də-​ˈti-​və-​tē \ noun

Examples of additive in a Sentence

Adjective

certain drugs have additive effects when taken in conjunction with each other that one doesn't see when any one is used alone

Noun

a gasoline additive to reduce pollution

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Perhaps the bass guitar throbs from your right side, the synth from the left, and the kick drum is an additive force on both sides. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Razer HyperSense's vision for haptic-filled PC gaming shakes up the future of peripherals," 10 Jan. 2019 Some of these offices are additive in existing locations. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple will spend $1 billion and hire up to 15,000 people for new Austin office," 13 Dec. 2018 As for consumers who still subscribe to traditional cable and for whom these streaming services are just additive, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: the monthly fees are mounting. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "HBO, CNN, DC Comics, and more could join a streaming video service under AT&T," 10 Oct. 2018 For two reasons: first, many companies are slow to adopt additive due to resistance from veteran engineers and designers who don’t want to learn a new manufacturing approach all over again. Pam Baker, Ars Technica, "Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine," 6 Dec. 2018 The excitement of the Menil has always been the contrast between its contemplative interiors and its additive plan. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "A museum grows in Houston," 1 Nov. 2018 The rest is an additive effect provided by the expansion of happy little plants. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Carpeting Sahara with wind and solar farms could make it rain," 8 Sep. 2018 But each one is still additive to the overall picture. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Wants to Improve the Quality of Your News Feed," 23 May 2018 Ketamine augments the brain's ability to change, which could explain why talk therapy might be additive. Moises Velasquez-manoff, WIRED, "Ketamine Stirs Up Hope—and Controversy—as a Depression Drug," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Investigators later determined that Department of Environmental Quality officials misread federal guidelines and did not require use of corrosion-control additives. John Flesher, The Seattle Times, "Michigan governor revamps environmental agency after Flint," 4 Feb. 2019 Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid commonly used as an additive to heroin, and has been blamed for a spike in drug overdose deaths around the country. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Officials investigating possibility fentanyl caused workers to fall ill at D.C. jail," 15 Mar. 2018 Denmark did it 15 years ago, and since then the United States and more than 40 other higher-income countries have been working on getting the additives out of their food supplies. Washington Post, "UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide," 14 May 2018 Research scientists at Rise developed a composite wood without additives like paint or dye, which gives its bright white color. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Sleek new speaker features recyclable wood cabinet," 27 Dec. 2018 Making deli meat without additives such as nitrites was particularly hard. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone? Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters," 12 Oct. 2018 Products free from artificial colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and certain other additives make up roughly 30% of food and beverage sales and are the fastest-growing segment, according to Nielsen. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone? Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters," 12 Oct. 2018 While these substances are typically used in very small dosages, the 1958 Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires the agency to ban any food additive shown to cause cancer in animals or humans. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "FDA Bans Certain Chemicals Often Used to Create Citrus, Mint, and Cinnamon Flavors in Things Like Ice Cream," 9 Oct. 2018 The sweet-yet-complex cherry almond scent is also completely natural and is crafted with 38 flower and plant essences instead of synthetic additives. Maria Cassano, Allure, "Aveda's Best-Selling Cherry Almond Shampoo and Conditioner Are Finally Back in Stock," 27 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'additive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of additive

Adjective

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1901, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for additive

Adjective

borrowed from Late Latin additīvus, from Latin additus (past participle of addere "to add") + -īvus -ive

Noun

derivative of additive entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about additive

Statistics for additive

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for additive

The first known use of additive was in 1648

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for additive

additive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of additive

: something (such as a chemical) that is added in small amounts to a substance to improve it in some way

additive

noun
ad·​di·​tive | \ ˈa-də-tiv \

Kids Definition of additive

: a substance added to another in small amounts The gasoline additive improves engine performance.

additive

adjective
ad·​di·​tive | \ ˈad-ət-iv \

Medical Definition of additive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having or relating to a value or effect that is the sum of individual values or effects: as
a : relating to the sum of the pharmacological responses produced by the concurrent administration of two or more drugs capable of producing the same kind of effect
b : having a genetic effect that is the sum of the individual effects

Other Words from additive

additively adverb
additivity \ ˌad-​ə-​ˈtiv-​ət-​ē \ noun, plural additivities

additive

noun

Medical Definition of additive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance added to another in relatively small amounts to effect a desired change in properties especially : an agent added to a foodstuff to improve color, flavor, texture, or keeping qualities

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on additive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for additive

Spanish Central: Translation of additive

Nglish: Translation of additive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of additive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on additive

What made you want to look up additive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!