Pronunciation: (fôr'mu-tiv),[key] —adj. 1. giving form or shape; forming; shaping; fashioning; molding: a formative process in manufacturing. 2. pertaining to formation or development: a child's most formative years. 3. Biol. a. capable of developing new cells or tissue by cell division and differentiation: formative tissue. b. concerned with the formation of an embryo, organ, or the like.
4. Gram.pertaining to a formative.
—n. 1. Gram.a derivational affix, particularly one that determines the part of speech of the derived word, as -ness, in loudness, hardness, etc.
2. Ling.(in generative grammar) any element, as a word, affix, or inflectional ending, functioning as a minimal syntactic unit that can be used in forming larger constructions.