Putative vs. Punitive - What's the difference?


  • Putative (adjective)

    Commonly believed or deemed to be the case; accepted by supposition rather than as a result of proof.


  • Punitive (adjective)

    inflicting punishment, punishing

    "Washington imposed punitive sanctions on Syria."

    "The jury awarded $10,000 in punitive damages."

Oxford Dictionary

  • Putative (adjective)

    generally considered or reputed to be

    "the putative author of the book"

  • Punitive (adjective)

    inflicting or intended as punishment

    "he called for punitive measures against the Eastern bloc"

  • Punitive (adjective)

    (of a tax or other charge) extremely high

    "a current punitive interest rate of 31.3 per cent"

Webster Dictionary

  • Putative (adjective)

    Commonly thought or deemed; supposed; reputed; as, the putative father of a child.

  • Punitive (adjective)

    Of or pertaining to punishment; involving, awarding, or inflicting punishment; as, punitive law or justice.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Putative (adjective)

    commonly put forth or accepted as true on inconclusive grounds;

    "the foundling's putative father"

    "the reputed (or purported) author of the book"

    "the supposed date of birth"

  • Punitive (adjective)

    inflicting punishment;

    "punitive justice"

    "punitive damages"


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