from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Producing or involving subtraction.
  • adjective Of or being a color produced by light passing through or reflecting off a colorant, such as a filter or pigment, that absorbs certain wavelengths and transmits or reflects others.
  • adjective Of or being any of the primary colors cyan, magenta, or yellow.
  • adjective Of or being a photographic process that produces a positive image by superposing or mixing substances that selectively absorb colored light.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Tending to subtract; having power to subtract.
  • In mathematics, having the minus sign (—).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Tending, or having power, to subtract.
  • adjective (Math.) Having the negative sign, or sign minus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to subtraction
  • adjective Describing a colour, from which some wavelengths have been removed

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective constituting or involving subtraction


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Whereas with pigment adding primaries together have the opposite effect, that is why it is referred to as subtractive color and light is referred to as additive color.

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  • This might also be called a subtractive model, and Wittgenstein captures this perfectly with a question:

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  • These are called subtractive colours, which are comprised of the wheel that we're likely all used to (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple).

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  • Its three color emulsion layers (with filter layers built in) and the complex "subtractive" process required to produce the image was ideal for dye-transfers.

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  • It's a kind of subtractive masculinity, where the only qualities that make a guy a Real Man are ones women do not display.

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  • It's a kind of subtractive masculinity, where the only qualities that make a guy a Real Man are ones women do not display.

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  • Almost every Muslim demand is culturally destructive and 'subtractive' rather than 'additive'.

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  • A complex multilayer the substrate is immersed in an etching chem - The PCB-manufacturing process has PCB might have both blind vias (which ical, the excess copper is removed and only changed relatively little since then, are visible on only one side of the fi nished the desired circuit pattern remains. although three "subtractive" processes board) and buried vias (which aren't visible The problem with Eisler's idea was that have evolved to remove the copper to at all when the board is assembled).

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  • In general, I'm an additive writer rather than a subtractive one -- I write short, and then have to go back and fill in the holes and expand stuff and let white space in.

    funny how the whole world--historically--feels the urge to chase the sun to rest

  • I have a particular interest in the fluid nature of time, and the way travel, queuing, and even routing can play additive and subtractive games with this.

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