Definition of generative in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛn(ə)rətɪv/


1Relating to or capable of production or reproduction: the female reproductive system and its generative cycles
More example sentences
  • There are two possible methods by which this could arise: by generative reproduction via unreduced gametes or by somatic mutations.
  • Each haploid cell undergoes a mitotic division to produce the generative and vegetative nuclei.
  • Continuing the consideration of the influence of the generative organs in the production of insanity, I come now to puerperal insanity.
2Denoting an approach to any field of linguistics that involves applying a finite set of rules to linguistic input in order to produce all and only the well-formed items of a language: generative phonology
More example sentences
  • During this period, he became a leading figure in US linguistics, replacing a mechanistic and behaviouristic view of language with a mentalistic and generative approach.
  • Functionalism as a linguistic approach is different from generative and cognitive approaches in that it makes no claim as to the cognitive reality of the mechanisms it proposes - that matter is irrelevant to its usefulness.
  • The whole question is fascinating, because generative linguists have not tended to be interested in this question.



Example sentences
  • I hope I need not say that special respect for generativity does not require stigmatizing the non-generative.
  • After that perhaps twenty-year time period, a woman emerges fully into her new life of deeper uniqueness, generativity, nurturance, and creativity.
  • If you feel that kind of generativity, you'll never be bored with life.


Late Middle English: from late Latin generativus, from generare 'beget' (see generate).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.