putative was our Word of the Day on 05/05/2012. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of putative in a Sentence
- This has always been a nation willing to sell out its past for putative progress. —Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 3 June 2002
- The putative champions of liberty took up the cry of dissent only after it had become profitable and safe … —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, June 2000
- Back in Hollywood in a few weeks, I was discouraged to find yet another putative director wandering about in the Cowan offices, also unpaid. —Arthur Miller, Timebends, 1987
the putative reason for her dismissal was poor job performance
Recent Examples of putative from the Web
In the Gibraltar region by the Mediterranean Sea, Rodrigues and colleagues took a focused approach, analyzing 11 putative whale bones from five sites.
Beck is the putative hero, but in practice, the books are ensemble dramas, shading often into ensemble comedies.
Erdogan’s anti-Western drift recently has raised alarms among Turkey’s putative allies, with potentially grave consequences for cooperation within NATO, security in Iraq and Syria, and control of immigration flows into Europe.
But for the rest of us, the phenomenon is more interesting - and more fun - than any putative good that might come of it.
Trump put Jared Kushner in putative charge of Middle East policy.
The problem lies in associating these features with the putative planets causing them.
But in the months immediately prior to a new update—during which the putative release is pushed out not just to the usual Fast and Slow distribution channels but also the Release Preview channel—that number hits about 0.8 or 0.9 percent.
The suit is a putative class action on behalf of Yahoo users.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'putative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
putative: Always Before a Noun
Putative is almost always used in front of a noun, the modified noun being that which is assumed or supposed to be. The putative cause of a death, for example, is the one widely believed to have caused it, even when it hasn't been proven or made certain. However, one does not say "the cause was putative."
Did You Know?
There's no need to make assumptions about the root behind putative; scholars are quite certain the word comes from Latin putatus, the past participle of the verb putare, which means "to consider" or "to think." Putative has been part of English since the 15th century, and it often shows up in legal contexts. For instance, a "putative marriage" is one that is believed to be legal by at least one of the parties involved. When that trusting person finds out that his or her marriage is not sanctioned by law, other putare derivatives, such as dispute, disreputable, reputed, imputation, and deputy, may come into play.
PUTATIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of putative for English Language Learners
: generally believed to be something
legal Definition of putative
- the child's putative father
- ignorantly entered into a putative marriage before the divorce from a previous spouse was final
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up putative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).