commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed: the putative boss of the mob.

Origin of putative

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin putātīvus reputed, equivalent to putāt(us) (past participle of putāre to think, consider, reckon, orig. to clean, prune) + -īvus -ive
Related formspu·ta·tive·ly, adverbun·pu·ta·tive, adjectiveun·pu·ta·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for putative

Contemporary Examples of putative

Historical Examples of putative

  • "I am sure I do not know," I murmured, as I fumbled the portrait of my putative uncle.

  • Laura's putative father, Orsino Orsini, was present at the ceremony.

    Lucretia Borgia

    Ferdinand Gregorovius

  • As of this moment your putative services will be no longer required.

  • He publishes but one book, of which he is the putative author.

    Work for Women

    George J. Manson

  • Would you care to hazard a surmise about the identity of these putative pirates?

    The Pirates of Shan

    Harold Leland Goodwin

British Dictionary definitions for putative



(prenominal) commonly regarded as beingthe putative father
(prenominal) considered to exist or have existed; inferred
grammar denoting a mood of the verb in some languages used when the speaker does not have direct evidence of what he is asserting, but has inferred it on the basis of something else
Derived Formsputatively, adverb

Word Origin for putative

C15: from Late Latin putātīvus supposed, from Latin putāre to consider
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 putative

early 15c., from Middle French putatif, from Late Latin putativus "supposed," from Latin putat-, past participle stem of putare "to judge, suppose, believe, suspect," originally "to clean, trim, prune" (see pave). At first especially in putative marriage, one which, though legally invalid, was contracted in good faith by at least one party. Related: Putatively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper