putative

play
adjective pu·ta·tive \ˈpyü-tə-tiv\

Definition of putative

  1. 1 :  commonly accepted or supposed

  2. 2 :  assumed to exist or to have existed

putatively

adverb

putative was our Word of the Day on 05/05/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of putative in a sentence

  1. This has always been a nation willing to sell out its past for putative progress. —Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 3 June 2002

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. the putative reason for her dismissal was poor job performance

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 century


PUTATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

putative

play
adjective pu·ta·tive \ˈpyü-tə-tiv\

Definition of putative for English Language Learners

  • : generally believed to be something


Law Dictionary

putative

play
adjective pu·ta·tive \ˈpyü-tə-tiv\

Legal Definition of putative

  1. :  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

putatively

adverb


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).

WORD OF THE DAY

clearly seen through or understood

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
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