Definition of putative
1 : commonly accepted or supposed
2 : assumed to exist or to have existed
putative was our Word of the Day on 05/05/2012. Hear the podcast!
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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
Perhaps even putative senator Kid Rock, who once got into a brawl at a Waffle House , which is certainly some sort of peak American experience.
Is dominance politics compatible with the Dirtbag Left’s putative political vision?
The town in which Austen’s characters tryst, shop and party is a bustling place full of aristocrats who come there to see and be seen, to exhibit fashions and socialize and to enjoy the health benefits, both real and putative, of the sulfur baths.
Those promises, however, were aimed less at the putative beneficiaries than at those in the more developed parts of the city, who consider ger districts an eyesore.
But the 23 million viewers (on average) who watch each episode come for the unusually large number of indelible characters—like Lena Headey’s power-mad Queen Cersei; the brooding, putative hero, Jon Snow (Kit Harington); and Brienne.
The putative reason: The band, which was at its height and falling apart at the same time, had learned that the festival was charging $25 for tickets, not the $17 the Clash had been told.
This is the putative excuse for the Emirati black sites.
Uber rode his self-confidence to a putative value of $70 billion.
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.
Origin and Etymology of putative
Middle English, from Late Latin putativus, from Latin putatus, past participle of putare to think
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
PUTATIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of putative for English Language Learners
: generally believed to be something
Legal Definition of putative
: thought, assumed, or alleged to be such or to exist the child's putative father ignorantly entered into a putative marriage before the divorce from a previous spouse was final
Seen and Heard
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