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  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.
  3. deduced by inference or interpretation; inferential: constructive permission.
  4. 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 formscon·struc·tive·ly, adverbcon·struc·tive·ness, nounnon·con·struc·tive, adjectivenon·con·struc·tive·ly, adverbnon·con·struc·tive·ness, nounqua·si-con·struc·tive, adjectivequa·si-con·struc·tive·ly, adverbun·con·struc·tive, adjectiveun·con·struc·tive·ly, adverb

Synonyms for constructive

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for constructively

Contemporary Examples of constructively

Historical Examples of constructively

British Dictionary definitions for constructively


  1. serving to build or improve; positiveconstructive criticism
  2. law deduced by inference or construction; not expressed but inferred
  3. law having a deemed legal effectconstructive notice
  4. another word for structural
Derived Formsconstructively, adverbconstructiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for constructively



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