Share this entry

generative Syllabification: gen·er·a·tive
Pronunciation: /ˈjenərədiv/

Definition of generative in English:


1Relating to or capable of production or reproduction: the generative power of the life force
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.
1.1 Linguistics Applying principles of generative grammar.
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.


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

Definition of generative in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈ(h)wipərˌsnapər
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...