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con·struc·tive / kənˈstrəktiv/ • adj. 1. serving a useful purpose; tending to build up: constructive criticism.2. Law derived by inference; implied by operation of law; not obvious or explicit: constructive fraud.3. Math. relating to, based on, or denoting mathematical proofs that show how an entity may in principle be constructed or arrived at in a finite number of steps.DERIVATIVES: con·struc·tive·ly adv.con·struc·tive·ness n.


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That which exists, not in fact, but as a result of the operation of law. That which takes on a character as a consequence of the way it is treated by a rule or policy of law, as opposed to its actual character.

For example, constructive knowledge is notice of a fact that a person is presumed by law to have, regardless of whether he or she actually does, since such knowledge is obtainable by the exercise of reasonable care.

For example, possession of the key to a safe-deposit box is constructive possession of the contents of the box since the key gives its holder power and control over the contents.