[ trans-gres-iv, tranz- ]

  1. violating or challenging socially accepted standards of behavior, belief, morality, or taste: We welcome those who are engaged in consensual, albeit transgressive sexualities.Transgressive fiction focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free in unusual ways.

  2. violating a law, rule, command, or duty, or causing harm by doing so: We need to develop principled arguments that demonstrate the essentially transgressive nature of activities that damage the natural environment.

Origin of transgressive

First recorded in 1640–50; transgress + -ive

Words Nearby transgressive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use transgressive in a sentence

  • It is obvious all through that transgressive growth is the starting-point in the formation of new individuals.

    The Wonders of Life | Ernst Haeckel
  • When this limit has been passed, the transgressive growth takes the form of reproduction.

    The Wonders of Life | Ernst Haeckel
  • If then selection does not bring about transgressive variation in a general population, how can selection produce anything new?

British Dictionary definitions for transgressive


/ (ˌtrænzˈɡrɛsɪv) /

  1. going beyond acceptable boundaries of taste, convention, or the law: transgressive art; transgressive pursuits

Derived forms of transgressive

  • transgressively, adverb

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