Definition of constructive in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kənˈstrʌktɪv/


1Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose: constructive advice
More example sentences
  • Comments, advice, suggestions or constructive criticism are especially welcome.
  • Any advice and/or constructive criticism is welcome, as always.
  • Oh, and thank you for all the advice, I love constructive criticism.
positive, useful, of use, helpful, encouraging;
productive, practical, valuable, profitable, worthwhile, effective, beneficial, advantageous
2 Law Not obvious or stated explicitly; derived by inference: constructive liability
More example sentences
  • Traditionally there has been a reluctance to use a driving offence as the unlawful act in constructive manslaughter.
  • Further, the composition of liability as a constructive trustee is wider than a tracing order in equity.
  • The fault requirement for the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm reveals that it is an offence of constructive liability.
3 Mathematics Relating to, based on, or denoting mathematical proofs which show how an entity may in principle be constructed or arrived at in a finite number of steps.
Example sentences
  • He made a good start to solving this problem for n = 2 when he found a constructive proof of a finite basis for binary forms.
  • He is perhaps best known, however, as one of the founders of the constructive approach to contemporary mathematics.
  • His repudiation of excluded middle flows from his constructive conception of mathematics.



Example sentences
  • In fairness, the local authority have played an important part in improving the physical environment for business but their constructiveness in this regard is now being nullified by their destructiveness.
  • They feel that as the biggest constituent part of Britain, they have a sense of responsibility to other smaller parts and that they have to demonstrate a certain constructiveness to their political demands.
  • Multiple honour rolls could address different aspects, such as helpfulness to editors, high ratings from fellow reviewers, or good marks from rejected authors on constructiveness.


Mid 17th century (in sense 2): from late Latin constructivus, from Latin construct- 'heap together', from the verb construere (see construct).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|struct|ive

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.