Definition of constructive in English:



  • 1Serving a useful purpose; tending to build up.

    ‘constructive criticism’
    • ‘Suppose, further, that she attempts to use bulldozers for constructive purposes.’
    • ‘I told him he needed to be supportive and indulge me in some positive constructive advice.’
    • ‘Gendering transport history offers a full, useful and constructive tool of analysis.’
    • ‘Authors might rate reviews as useful, creative, constructive, or crucial to their paper.’
    • ‘At the same time, impeding the efforts of soldiers at war serves no constructive purpose.’
    • ‘If so, I am opening up myself to constructive criticism or helpful comments.’
    • ‘I think that parents should work with schools in a constructive partnership to benefit all parties.’
    • ‘The trouble with such sites is that it is just as easy for someone vandalise their pages as it is for someone to add something useful or constructive.’
    • ‘Keeping a murderer in prison costs upwards of £25,000 a year which could be better used for constructive purposes.’
    • ‘Most of the comments here are delightfully informative, useful or otherwise constructive, and I'm happy to keep it that way!’
    • ‘I'd like someone to come up with a van, haul them off and put them to constructive purpose.’
    • ‘Any advice and/or constructive criticism is welcome, as always.’
    • ‘He said it was a useful and constructive meeting following on from the previous meeting.’
    • ‘Comments, advice, suggestions or constructive criticism are especially welcome.’
    • ‘The question which now must be asked of Teagasc is what constructive purpose do these reports serve.’
    • ‘Oh, and thank you for all the advice, I love constructive criticism.’
    • ‘Plus she's a regular reviewer with some grand advice and constructive criticism.’
    • ‘Go to work for the day, lose yourself in something constructive, the benefits outweigh the negatives.’
    • ‘They must try to profit from experience and constructive advice.’
    • ‘Generally speaking, I find the critique to be constructive and useful though largely misguided.’
    positive, useful, of use, helpful, encouraging
    productive, practical, valuable, profitable, worthwhile, effective, beneficial, advantageous
    View synonyms
  • 2Law
    Derived by inference; implied by operation of law; not obvious or explicit.

    ‘constructive liability’
    • ‘The fault requirement for the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm reveals that it is an offence of constructive liability.’
    • ‘It should be noted that constructive manslaughter requires the commission of an unlawful act.’
    • ‘Traditionally there has been a reluctance to use a driving offence as the unlawful act in constructive manslaughter.’
    • ‘The claim to a trust is a claim to a remedial and not an institutional constructive trust and the limitation period is again 6 years.’
    • ‘Further, the composition of liability as a constructive trustee is wider than a tracing order in equity.’
  • 3Mathematics
    Relating to, based on, or denoting mathematical proofs that show how an entity may in principle be constructed or arrived at in a finite number of steps.

    • ‘His criticism was built on the fact that he believed only in constructive mathematics.’
    • ‘His repudiation of excluded middle flows from his constructive conception of mathematics.’
    • ‘He is perhaps best known, however, as one of the founders of the constructive approach to contemporary mathematics.’
    • ‘His main work was on the constructive theory of functions and approximation theory.’
    • ‘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.’


Mid 17th century ( constructive): from late Latin constructivus, from Latin construct- heaped together from the verb construere (see construct).