[ kuhn-struhk-tiv ]
See synonyms for constructive on
  1. helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive): constructive criticism.

  2. of, relating to, or of the nature of construction; structural.

  1. deduced by inference or interpretation; inferential: constructive permission.

  2. 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

Other words for constructive

Other words from constructive

  • con·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • con·struc·tive·ness, noun
  • non·con·struc·tive, adjective
  • non·con·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·con·struc·tive·ness, noun
  • qua·si-con·struc·tive, adjective
  • qua·si-con·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·con·struc·tive, adjective
  • un·con·struc·tive·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use constructive in a sentence

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

    Manpower | Lincoln Clarke Andrews
  • I come in to visit your class in order to make constructive criticism, and to watch your physical progress.

  • Of this delicate constructive criticism, we have as yet, it seems to me, almost no specimens in the English language.

    My Wife and I | Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • This leads to constructive criticism of the scene by the children themselves rather than by the leader in charge.

    The Dramatization of Bible Stories | Elizabeth Erwin Miller Lobingier

British Dictionary definitions for constructive


/ (kənˈstrʌktɪv) /

  1. serving to build or improve; positive: constructive criticism

  2. law deduced by inference or construction; not expressed but inferred

  1. law having a deemed legal effect: constructive notice

  2. another word for structural

Derived forms of constructive

  • 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