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[kuh n-struhk-tiv] /kənˈstrʌk tɪv/
helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive):
constructive criticism.
of, relating to, or of the nature of construction; structural.
deduced by inference or interpretation; inferential:
constructive permission.
Law. denoting an act or condition not directly expressed but inferred from other acts or conditions.
Origin of constructive
1670-80; < Medieval Latin constrūctīvus, equivalent to Latin constrūct(us) (see construct) + īvus -ive
Related forms
constructively, adverb
constructiveness, noun
nonconstructive, adjective
nonconstructively, adverb
nonconstructiveness, noun
quasi-constructive, adjective
quasi-constructively, adverb
unconstructive, adjective
unconstructively, adverb
1. productive, helpful, handy, useful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for constructive criticism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And for this a disinterested, positive, and constructive criticism is needed.

    Celtic Literature Matthew Arnold
  • As a means of constructive criticism the report system might be useful in Parliament.

  • Civilization, indeed, may be defined as a constructive criticism of nature, and Huxley even called it a conspiracy against nature.

    Damn! Henry Louis Mencken
  • One of the best assets in any seat of learning is the constructive criticism of the alumni.

    Football Days William H. Edwards
  • There is a sharp difference between harmful criticism and constructive criticism.

  • It is a fact enormously significant; it reveals to us the naked man; it furnishes a basis for all constructive criticism.

  • By constructive criticism and explanation he encourages the man so that he wants to do it better next time.


    Lincoln Clarke Andrews
  • It was a dictatorial spirit, which was intolerant not merely of opposition, but of enlightened and constructive criticism.

British Dictionary definitions for constructive criticism


serving to build or improve; positive: constructive criticism
(law) deduced by inference or construction; not expressed but inferred
(law) having a deemed legal effect: constructive notice
another word for structural
Derived Forms
constructively, adverb
constructiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for constructive criticism

criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for constructive criticism



early 15c., "derived by interpretation," from Middle French constructif or from Medieval Latin constructivus, from Latin construct-, past participle stem of construere "to heap up" (see construction). Meaning "pertaining to construction" is from 1817; "having the quality of constructing" is from 1841. Related: Constructively. Constructive criticism is attested by 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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