View synonyms for formative


[ fawr-muh-tiv ]


  1. giving form or shape; forming; shaping; fashioning; molding:

    a formative process in manufacturing.

  2. relating to formation or development:

    a child's most formative years.

    Synonyms: susceptible, impressionable, receptive

  3. Biology.
    1. capable of developing new cells or tissue by cell division and differentiation:

      formative tissue.

    2. concerned with the formation of an embryo, organ, or the like.
  4. Education. continuous and diagnostic, and covering specifically the current material with which the student is actively engaged; ongoing: formative evaluation; Compare summative ( def 2 ).

    formative assessment;

    formative evaluation;

    formative feedback.

  5. Grammar. relating to a formative, an affix that indicates the part of speech of a derived word.


  1. Grammar. a derivational affix, particularly one that determines the part of speech of the derived word, as -ness, in loudness, hardness, etc.
  2. 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.


/ ˈfɔːmətɪv /


  1. of or relating to formation, development, or growth

    formative years

  2. shaping; moulding

    a formative experience

  3. (of tissues and cells in certain parts of an organism) capable of growth and differentiation
  4. functioning in the formation of derived, inflected, or compound words


  1. an inflectional or derivational affix
  2. (in generative grammar) any of the minimum units of a sentence that have syntactic function

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Derived Forms

  • ˈformatively, adverb
  • ˈformativeness, noun

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Other Words From

  • form·a·tive·ly adverb
  • form·a·tive·ness noun
  • non·form·a·tive adjective
  • non·form·a·tive·ly adverb
  • sub·form·a·tive adjective
  • sub·form·a·tive·ly adverb
  • sub·form·a·tive·ness noun
  • un·form·a·tive adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of formative1

First recorded in 1480–90; from Old French formatif (masculine), formative (feminine); formation, -ive

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Example Sentences

For Parks, now an accomplished author, the book was a formative introduction to suspense.

The other recent fast-charging breakthrough is at a more formative stage, but it wouldn’t necessarily require upgrades to existing fast charging infrastructure.

It turns out, as childhood magic tricks go, there was no real bewitchery, just fresh ingredients that I paid little attention to during those formative years.

What helped Andy in particular become that sort of uber-competitor was having an older brother who’s a bit bigger and a bit stronger than him through most of his formative years.

The time spent with America’s best miler was formative for Magness.

From Fortune

You include a story about a poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, really affecting you in your formative years.

All my formative years, I spent standing next to Jay [Z] or Justin [Timberlake] or all those kings.

For a generation of moviegoers, there are few filmmakers more influential during one's formative years than Rob Reiner.

The Scopes Trial was a formative moment for modern creationism.

The correlation is especially robust in the lower grades, when students are in their formative years.

Politically they have been neglected, until the Citizens' Union gave them a formative part in political decisions.

If children are not in schools, they are yet subject to influences that are formative of character.

Consequently, we find that behind all systems of primitive religion lies the formative background of natural phenomena.

In its literal sense Bildung implies a shaping and formative action.

This was the boy that for the last four years we had considered as a great example of the formative influences of the school!


Related Words




formation rulesformative assessment