formative

adjective
for·​ma·​tive | \ ˈfȯr-mə-tiv \

Definition of formative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : giving or capable of giving form : constructive a formative influence
b : used in word formation or inflection
2 : capable of alteration by growth and development also : producing new cells and tissues
3 : of, relating to, or characterized by formative effects or formation formative years

formative

noun

Definition of formative (Entry 2 of 2)

: the element (such as a suffix) in a word that serves to give the word appropriate form and is not part of the base

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Other Words from formative

Adjective

formatively adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for formative

Synonyms: Adjective

constructive, productive

Antonyms: Adjective

nonconstructive, nonproductive, unproductive

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Did You Know?

Whatever gives shape to something else may be called formative: for example, the Grand Canyon is a product of the formative power of water, and the automobile was a huge formative influence on the design of America's cities. But it usually applies to some kind of shaping that isn't physical. An ambitious plan, for example, goes through a formative stage of development. The formative years of the U.S. included experimentation with various forms of government. And the most important formative experiences in our own lives tend to take place in the first 20 years or so.

Examples of formative in a Sentence

Adjective

This experience had a formative influence on his art. a teacher who was a formative influence on generations of students

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The 20-year-old playmaker who has spent his formative years at Borussia Dortmund in Germany, has the vision and the skill to pilot the national team for a decade. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "U.S. Men’s Soccer Team Remains Lost in the Wilderness," 16 Nov. 2018 That was one of the side benefits of spending the formative years of my life actually living in Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood. Adam Eisenstat, Vox, "Mr. Rogers was my actual neighbor. He was everything he was on TV and more.," 26 July 2018 Instead, focus on one or two moments that were formative throughout that journey. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "How to Find the Right College for LGBTQ Students," 11 Oct. 2018 The wounds nearly killed him, and the experience was formative for his son. Paul Sonne And Lisa Rein, miamiherald, "Trump's VA pick, a longtime aide to polarizing politicians, has defended extreme views," 26 June 2018 The competitive awards are designed to boost the country’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers early in their careers, when many scientists do their most formative work, according to the university. Annie Martin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "UCF physicist will receive $750K Department of Energy grant," 21 June 2018 Made some of the great, great formative movies for me in the 70s and 80s. Eric Johnson, Recode, "‘The Front Runner’ director Jason Reitman says technology has taught today’s young people how to be great filmmakers," 1 Nov. 2018 His book The Conscience of a Conservative was a formative text of modern-day conservatism, making the case for principles of limited government, free markets, and anti-communism at a time when the ideological right had much less power in the party. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Jeff Flake’s Brett Kavanaugh delay, and difficult history with Trump, explained," 28 Sep. 2018 Arnold, who holds a degree in film from Columbia University, spent her formative summers training, teaching, and living with Allen in Los Angeles. Vogue, "The New Crew: Meet Los Angeles Tap Troupe Syncopated Ladies," 18 Sep. 2018

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

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First Known Use of formative

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1816, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for formative

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for formative

The first known use of formative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for formative

formative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of formative

—used to describe the time when someone or something is growing or being formed

: helping to develop something

formative

adjective
for·​ma·​tive | \ ˈfȯr-mət-iv \

Medical Definition of formative

: capable of alteration by growth and development also : producing new cells and tissues

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Comments on formative

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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