- giving form or shape; forming; shaping; fashioning; molding: a formative process in manufacturing.
- pertaining to formation or development: a child's most formative years.
- capable of developing new cells or tissue by cell division and differentiation: formative tissue.
- concerned with the formation of an embryo, organ, or the like.
- Grammar. pertaining to a formative.
- Grammar. a derivational affix, particularly one that determines the part of speech of the derived word, as -ness, in loudness, hardness, etc.
- Linguistics. (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.
Origin of formative
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for formative
You include a story about a poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, really affecting you in your formative years.Richard Blanco’s Gay Latino Poet Survival Kit
October 8, 2014
All my formative years, I spent standing next to Jay [Z] or Justin [Timberlake] or all those kings.How Pharrell Williams Finally Made It to the Top
August 6, 2014
For a generation of moviegoers, there are few filmmakers more influential during one's formative years than Rob Reiner.Rob Reiner on the State of Romcoms, ‘The Princess Bride’s’ Alternate Ending, and the Red Viper
July 27, 2014
The Scopes Trial was a formative moment for modern creationism.The Scopes Monkey Trial 2.0: It’s Not About the Stupid Science-Deniers
July 21, 2014
The correlation is especially robust in the lower grades, when students are in their formative years.How a 1973 Supreme Court Decision Has Contributed to Our Inequality
Geoffrey R. Stone
May 15, 2014
In its literal sense Bildung implies a shaping and formative action.The New Society
Evolution, like development, was due to a Bildungskraft or formative force.
Formative Reize in der thierischen Ontogenese, Leipzig, 1901.
He had undergone the labours of a titan for twelve eventful and formative years.A History of the United States
Perhaps the Chiltern she had married was as yet in a formative state.A Modern Chronicle, Complete
- of or relating to formation, development, or growthformative years
- shaping; mouldinga formative experience
- (of tissues and cells in certain parts of an organism) capable of growth and differentiation
- functioning in the formation of derived, inflected, or compound words
- an inflectional or derivational affix
- (in generative grammar) any of the minimum units of a sentence that have syntactic function
Word Origin and History for formative
late 15c., from Middle French formatif, from Latin format-, past participle stem of formare (see form (n.)).