1. Forming or capable of forming.
a. Susceptible to transformation by growth and development.
b. Biology Capable of producing new cells or tissue.
3. Of or relating to formation, growth, or development: the formative stages of a plot.
4. Linguistics Relating to the formation or inflection of words.
A derivational or inflectional affix.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.