[jen-er-uh-tiv, -uh-rey-tiv]


capable of producing or creating.
pertaining to the production of offspring.
  1. of or relating to generative grammar.
  2. using rules to generate surface forms from underlying, abstract forms.

Origin of generative

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French generatif, Late Latin generātīvus. See generate, -ive
Related formsgen·er·a·tive·ly, adverbgen·er·a·tive·ness, nounin·ter·gen·er·a·tive, adjectivenon·gen·er·a·tive, adjectiveun·gen·er·a·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for generative

Contemporary Examples of generative

Historical Examples of generative

  • Such, then, is the singular sensitiveness of the generative system.

    On the Genesis of Species

    St. George Mivart

  • There was no generative power in the pure activity of Thought.

  • The fecund sap, their generative virtue, escapes and diminishes at every gleam.

    The Sea

    Jules Michelet

  • This is equally applicable when the generative organs or perinum are injured.

    Sporting Dogs

    Frank Townend Barton

  • Together they prefigured not only Wisdom and generative power, but evil as well.

British Dictionary definitions for generative



of or relating to the production of offspring, parts, etca generative cell
capable of producing or originating
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 generative

early 15c., from generate + -ive. Use in linguistics is attested by 1959. Related: Generativity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for generative


[jĕnər-ə-tĭv, -ə-rā′-]


Having the ability to originate, produce, or procreate.
Of or relating to the production of offspring.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.