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additive Syllabification: ad·di·tive
Pronunciation: /ˈadədiv/

Definition of additive in English:


A substance added to something in small quantities, typically to improve or preserve it: many foods contain chemical additives
More example sentences
  • Sometimes these additives can improve flavour, but obviously they can also detract from it.
  • Tea or supper will not be a supermarket ready-meal full of additives, preservatives and artificial flavourings.
  • One reason could be down to the fact that additives, colourings and preservatives are more prevalent in our food than ever.
added ingredient, addition;
preservative, coloring


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1Characterized by, relating to, or produced by addition: an additive process the combination of these factors has an additive effect
More example sentences
  • This result is opposite of what is expected if the fitness effects are additive or multiplicative.
  • The period length of the double mutant strains was close to values predicted from assuming an additive or multiplicative effect from each mutation.
  • These rates are greater than expected for additive or multiplicative effects of the single mutations.
1.1 technical Of or relating to the reproduction of colors by the superimposition of primary colors: the video monitor uses the additive colors red, green, and blue
More example sentences
  • The artistic palette of colors, on the other hand, includes additive colors which include red, green and blue.
  • Another alternative is to have the additive colors in small containers and have the students dip the brush in to get a small amount.
  • The three types of cones are often, and somewhat misleadingly, equated with Maxwell's additive primaries of red, blue, and green.


Late 17th century (as an adjective): from late Latin additivus, from Latin addit- 'added', from the verb addere (see add). The noun dates from the 1940s.

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