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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. Giving form; having the power of giving form; plastic; as, the formative arts. The meanest plant can not be raised without seed, by any formative residing in the soil. (Bentley)

2. Serving to form; derivative; not radical; as, a termination merely formative.

3. (Science: biology) Capable of growth and development; germinal; as, living or formative matter.

Origin: cf. F. Formatif.