Definition of additive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈadɪtɪv/


A substance added to something in small quantities 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, extra, add-on, supplement, accompaniment;
preservative, flavour enhancer, colouring
British informal E-number


1Characterized by, relating to, or produced by addition: 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 Relating to the reproduction of colours by the superimposition of primary colours: the video monitor uses the additive colours 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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