re·​duc·​tive | \ri-ˈdək-tiv \

Definition of reductive 

1 : of, relating to, causing, or involving reduction

2 : of or relating to reductionism : reductionistic

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Other Words from reductive

reductively adverb
reductiveness noun

Examples of reductive in a Sentence

a reductive interpretation of the theory

Recent Examples on the Web

In the modern age, though, an increasing number of people no longer subscribe to that reductive definition of femininity that prizes thin bodies over others. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "9 Size-Inclusive Lingerie Brands to Support Instead of Victoria's Secret," 14 Nov. 2018 The works are shown in a nimble, nonchronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilettantish. New York Times, "23 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 This isn't entirely Empire’s fault, of course, but the restaurant's uninspired and reductive offerings somehow add to the offensiveness. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Restaurant Review: Detroit's Empire Kitchen & Cocktails has no clothes," 12 July 2018 The work communicates the ways in which people may migrate into unexpected places, but also the ways in which places, or reductive ideas about them, get projected onto people. Sharon Mizota,, "Review: Photographer Todd Gray traces African roots," 9 July 2018 Hate-pieces, mean hashtags, reductive eye-rolling at his various stances, a nit-picking of every quote. New York Times, "Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It," 26 June 2018 Therapy can be a tricky, even reductive thing to dramatize, but if the AA scenes run a bit long, Van Sant gives them a vivid open-endedness: Every answer and breakthrough brings with it another question. Justin Chang,, "Review: Joaquin Phoenix stars in the captivating addiction drama 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'," 12 July 2018 Bezrukova’s work has been criticized for being demographically reductive. Ben Rowen, The Atlantic, "Finding the Formula for Team Chemistry," 15 June 2018 For others, however, labels can feel confining and reductive. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Am I Demisexual?," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reductive.' 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 reductive

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for reductive

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for reductive

The first known use of reductive was in 1633

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More Definitions for reductive



English Language Learners Definition of reductive

: dealing with or describing something complicated in a simple or too simple way


re·​duc·​tive | \ri-ˈdək-tiv \

Medical Definition of reductive 

: of, relating to, causing, or involving reduction

More from Merriam-Webster on reductive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reductive

Britannica English: Translation of reductive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on reductive

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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