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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for non-constructive


  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 non-constructive



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