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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for constructiveness

Historical Examples of constructiveness

  • 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.

  • 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.


    Robert S. Woodworth

  • By a faculty of constructiveness, he may become a fair basket-maker.

    Household Education

    Harriet Martineau

British Dictionary definitions for constructiveness


  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 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