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From Medieval Latin transformātīvus (transformative), from Latin trānsfōrmātus (transformed) + -īvus (suffix attached to the perfect passive participial stems of verbs, forming deverbal adjectives meaning ‘doing or related to doing [the verb]’). Trānsfōrmātus is the perfect passive participle of trānsfōrmō (to transform), from trāns- (prefix meaning ‘across; beyond; through’) + fōrmō (to fashion, form, format, shape) (from fōrma (appearance, figure, form, shape); further etymology unknown, perhaps related to Ancient Greek μορφή (morphḗ, a form, shape)).[1] The English word is analysable as transform +‎ -ative.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /trɑːnsˈfɔːmətɪv/, /tɹæns-/
    • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /tɹænsˈfɔɹmətɪv/, [-ɾɪv]
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: trans‧form‧a‧tive


transformative (comparative more transformative, superlative most transformative)

  1. That causes a transformation; causing a notable and lasting change
    Synonyms: transformatory, transmutative
    Antonym: nontransformative
    • 2019 November 6, Graeme Pickering, “New targets for Northumberland”, in Rail, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire: Bauer Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 46:
      "You'll know the transformative effect that the Metro has had on the whole of Tyneside," says NCC [Northumberland County Council] leader Peter Jackson. "This new passenger line will have the same effect on southeast Northumberland. It's a transformative project and we're going to make sure it happens."
  2. (linguistics) Chiefly in transformative-generative: of or relating to a theory of generative grammar in which defined operations called transformations produce new sentences from existing ones; transformational.

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  1. ^ transformative, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2018; “transformative, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

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