The hypothesis that each of several structural features of a molecular entity makes a separate and additive contribution to a property of the substance concerned. More specifically, it is the hypothesis that each of the several substituent groups in a parent molecule makes a separate and additive contribution to the standard Gibbs energy change (or Gibbs energy of activation) corresponding to a particular equilibrium (or rate of reaction).
See also: transferability
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077. 'Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)' on page 1081 (https://doi.org/10.1351/pac199466051077)