[ ad-i-tiv ]
/ ˈæd ɪ tɪv /
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something that is added, as one substance to another, to alter or improve the general quality or to counteract undesirable properties: an additive that thins paint.
- Also called food additive. a substance added directly to food during processing, as for preservation, coloring, or stabilization.
- something that becomes part of food or affects it as a result of packaging or processing, as debris or radiation.
characterized or produced by addition; cumulative: an additive process.
Mathematics. (of a function) having the property that the function of the union or sum of two quantities is equal to the sum of the functional values of each quantity; linear.
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Origin of additive
From the Late Latin word additīvus, dating back to 1690–1700. See additament, -ive
OTHER WORDS FROM additivead·di·tive·ly, adverbin·ter·ad·di·tive, adjectivesub·ad·di·tive, adjectivesub·ad·di·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use additive in a sentence
Scientists have discovered a powerful additive to feed that can block or reduce methane from cows.Climate news quiz: Space cooling and green giving|Lyndsey Layton|November 30, 2020|Washington Post
While additive to the medical cannabis patient experience, these features open the store up to the entire community, not limiting the healthcare experience to only those with a medical cannabis card.Curio Wellness launches $30M fund to help women and minorities own a cannabis dispensary|Matt Burns|November 30, 2020|TechCrunch
Susanne Kühn wanted to know if those additives might end up in the birds’ stomach oil.Polluting microplastics harm both animals and ecosystems|Alison Pearce Stevens|November 3, 2020|Science News For Students
Some plastics contain additives, chemicals that give them features that help that last longer or function better.Polluting microplastics harm both animals and ecosystems|Alison Pearce Stevens|November 3, 2020|Science News For Students
Avoid buying candy with high fructose corn syrup, alternative sweeteners and other chemical additives.
British Dictionary definitions for additive
/ (ˈædɪtɪv) /
characterized or produced by addition; cumulative
any substance added to something to improve it, prevent deterioration, etc
short for food additive
Word Origin for additive
C17: from Late Latin additīvus, from addere to add
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
Scientific definitions for additive
[ ăd′ĭ-tĭv ]
A substance added in small amounts to something else to improve, strengthen, or otherwise alter it. Additives are used for a variety of reasons. They are added to food, for example, to enhance taste or color or to prevent spoilage. They are added to gasoline to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and to plastics to enhance molding capability.
Relating to the production of color by the mixing of light rays of varying wavelengths.♦ The additive primaries red, green, and blue are those colors whose wavelengths can be mixed in different proportions to produce all other spectral colors. Compare subtractive. See Note at color.
Mathematics Marked by, produced by, or involving addition.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.