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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 constructiveness
Historical Examples
  • He's got no—no constructiveness, but that's the egg-meat of his plan, and you must understand that I'm in with it, an' so are you.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
  • constructiveness is an education which attains success but slowly.

    English Secularism George Jacob Holyoake
  • The music of Masonry would supply some hints for "constructiveness."

  • A second line of development is in the direction of constructiveness.

    Psychology Robert S. Woodworth
  • By a faculty of constructiveness, he may become a fair basket-maker.

    Household Education Harriet Martineau
  • Third, to the lack of teaching; to the lack of all constructiveness.

  • constructiveness is also utilized in that exercise of initiative is provided for.

  • And what a rare organ must constructiveness be, when even in its mockery it can yield such pleasure!

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • At which period, probably, the organ of constructiveness was added to his anatomy, as a punishment for his transgression.

    Headlong Hall Thomas Love Peacock
  • You observe, in both these specimens, the prodigious development of the organ of constructiveness.

    Headlong Hall Thomas Love Peacock
British Dictionary definitions for constructiveness


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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Word Origin and History for constructiveness



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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