Borrowed from French correctif.



corrective (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to correction; serving to correct.
    As the currents were changing rapidly, the captain had to make many corrective course changes.
    Since the accident I've had to wear a corrective brace.
    • 1539, Thomas Elyot, The Castel of Helth, London, Book 3, Chapter 16, p. 73,[1]
      Alway remember, that yf any other humour do abounde in the choleryke persone, as fleume, or melancolye, than vntyll that humour be expelled, the diete must be correctiue of that humour, and therfore more hotte and fyne, than the natural dyete before rehersed:
    • 1686, Richard Blome, The Gentlemans Recreation, London: for the author, “Moral Philosophy,” p. 30,[2]
      The Justice that relates to Men, is either Universal, which gives us the Character of Good Men; or particular, and this is either Distributive or Corrective Justice. [] To corrective Justice belongs the punishment of Crimes.
    • 1795, Isaac D’Israeli, An Essay on the Manners and Genius of Literary Character, London: T. Cadell, Junr. and W. Davies, Chapter 3, p. 18,[3]
      In the finished pieces of his youth, when he [John Milton] had a critical eye at every hour on every page, we find no want of corrective touches.
    • 1865, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, Chapter 25,[4]
      Molly and Cynthia were out walking when she came—doing some errands for Mrs. Gibson, who had a secret idea that Lady Harriet would call at the particular time she did, and had a not uncommon wish to talk to her ladyship without the corrective presence of any member of her own family.
    • 1953, Patricia Wentworth, Vanishing Point, Philadelphia: Lippincott, Chapter 23,[5]
      Florrie spoke angrily.
      “She hadn’t got nothing to say!”
      Miss Silver gave a slight corrective cough.
      “I noticed that she did not say anything.”
  2. (obsolete) Qualifying; limiting.
    • 1642, Richard Holdsworth, A Sermon Preached in St. Maries in Cambridge, Cambridge, p. 27,[6]
      The Psalmist interposeth a caution in this corrective particle, Yea, Happy.[7] It hath the force of a revocation, whereby he seems to retract what went before, not simply and absolutely, but in a certain degree []

Derived termsEdit

Terms derived from corrective (noun)



corrective (plural correctives)

  1. Something that corrects or counteracts something.
    alkalies are correctives of acids
    penalties are correctives of immoral conduct
    • c. 1598, John Donne, “To Sir Henry Wotton” in Poems, London: John Marriot, 1633, p. 63,[8]
      [] To make
      Courts hot ambitions wholesome, do not take
      A dramme of Countries dulnesse; do not adde
      Correctives, but as chymiques, purge the bad.
    • 1605, Francis Bacon, Of the proficience and aduancement of learning diuine, and humane in The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon, London: Henrie Tomes, pp. 4b-5,[9]
      If then such be the capacitie and receit of the mind of Man, it is manifest, that there is no daunger at all in the proportion or quantitie of knowledge howe large soeuer; least it should make it swell or outcompasse it selfe; no, but it is meerely the qualitie of knowledge, which be it in quantitie more or lesse, if it bee taken without the true correctiue thereof, hath in it some Nature of venome or malignitie, and some effects of that venome which is ventositie or swelling.
    • 1757, William Burke, An Account of the European Settlements in America, London: R. and J. Dodsley, Volume 2, Preface,[10]
      The materials for the foreign settlements are far from being as perfect, or as much to be depended upon as we could wish; it was very seldom that I could venture to transcribe any thing directly from them without some addition or some corrective.
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Chapter 23,[11]
      An interval of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of everything dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her enjoyment.
    • 1941, George Orwell, “Wells, Hitler and the World State” in Dickens, Dali and Others, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1946, p. 123,[12]
      If one had to choose among Wells’s own contemporaries a writer who could stand towards him as a corrective, one might choose Kipling, who was not deaf to the evil voices of power and military “glory.”
  2. (obsolete) Limitation; restriction.
    • 1677, Matthew Hale, The Primitive Origination of Mankind, London: William Shrowsbery, Chapter 7, p. 203,[13]
      What Correctives there may be supposed that may check and restrain that Increase of Mankind, that otherwise according to the ordinary course of Nature would have obtained in the World.
    • c. 1780, John Trusler, An Easy Way to Prolong Life, London: for the author, “Some observations upon drunkenness,” p. 28,[14]
      It is a maxim established upon good reason, that every thing exceeding its just bounds, is hurtful to nature. The best of things are not excepted in this general rule. Even the necessary supports of life, if not qualified and made wholesome by this corrective, may prove the procurers of death.




  1. feminine singular of correctif