[jen-er-uh-tiv, -uh-rey-tiv]
  1. capable of producing or creating.
  2. pertaining to the production of offspring.
  3. Linguistics.
    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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for generatively


  1. of or relating to the production of offspring, parts, etca generative cell
  2. 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 generatively



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

generatively in Medicine


[jĕnər-ə-tĭv, -ə-rā′-]
  1. Having the ability to originate, produce, or procreate.
  2. 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.