Definition of formative in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfôrmədiv/


1Serving to form something, especially having a profound and lasting influence on a person’s development: his formative years
More example sentences
  • But to begin with, let's listen to her thesis about the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - and some of the formative influences in its development.
  • He recalls in bright detail the books, teachers and mentors who served as formative influences in his intellectual development.
  • However, Ruby's insightful arguments and the formative influence of his work mark this collection as one that merits close attention from anthropologists and filmmakers alike.
developmental, developing, growing, malleable, impressionable, susceptible
determining, controlling, influential, guiding, decisive, forming, shaping, determinative
1.1Relating to a person’s development: a formative assessment
More example sentences
  • The system for portfolio development described in the syllabus reflects periodic formative assessment, but thus far it has been difficult to adhere to the timing of this system.
  • Researchers developed the intervention based on formative research needs assessment with the target audience.
  • In the progress of an effective peer learning program, goals, tasks, and interactions form a reciprocity loop, with formative assessment enabling transition from one to the other.
1.2 Linguistics Denoting or relating to any of the smallest meaningful units that are used to form words in a language, typically combining forms and inflections.


A formative element.
Example sentences
  • Do consumers perceive new ‘e’ and ‘i- ‘formatives as ready-made brand names or as new public domain terms?’
  • Different formatives may be customary depending on the verb from which the action nominal derives.
  • Paradigms and different formatives have been presented over and over again as well as word formation means.



Example sentences
  • Portfolios, or collections of student work, may also be used formatively if students and teachers annotate the entries and observe growth over time and practice.
  • The term can mean gathering information, both formatively and summatively, about what students have learned - and this, then, would look directly to the desired outcomes of learning.
  • Students are assessed both formatively and summatively in each discipline.


Late 15th century: from Old French formatif, -ive or medieval Latin formativus, from Latin formare 'to form' (see form).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: for·ma·tive

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