Meaning of formative

form•a•tive

Pronunciation: (fôr'mu-tiv), [key]
— adj.
  1. giving form or shape; forming; shaping; fashioning; molding: a formative process in manufacturing.
  2. pertaining to formation or development: a child's most formative years.
  3. formative tissue.
    1. capable of developing new cells or tissue by cell division and differentiation:formative tissue.
    2. concerned with the formation of an embryo, organ, or the like.
  4. pertaining to a formative.
—n.
  1. a derivational affix, particularly one that determines the part of speech of the derived word, as -ness, in loudness, hardness, etc.
  2. (in generative grammar) any element, as a word, affix, or inflectional ending, functioning as a minimal syntactic unit that can be used in forming larger constructions.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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