adjective de·scrip·tive \di-ˈskrip-tiv\

: giving information about how something or someone looks, sounds, etc. : using words to describe what something or someone is like

: providing facts about how a language is actually used rather than rules that tell people how it should be used

Full Definition of DESCRIPTIVE

:  serving to describe <a descriptive account>
a :  referring to, constituting, or grounded in matters of observation or experience <the descriptive basis of science>
b :  factually grounded or informative rather than normative, prescriptive, or emotive <descriptive cultural studies>
of a modifier
a :  expressing the quality, kind, or condition of what is denoted by the modified term <hot in “hot water” is a descriptive adjective>
b :  nonrestrictive
:  of, relating to, or dealing with the structure of a language at a particular time usually with exclusion of historical and comparative data <descriptive linguistics>
de·scrip·tive·ly adverb
de·scrip·tive·ness noun


  1. She gave a descriptive account of the journey.
  2. a talent for descriptive writing
  3. a poem full of descriptive detail
  4. The black cat was given the descriptive name Midnight.
  5. The book is a descriptive grammar.

First Known Use of DESCRIPTIVE

DESCRIPTIVE Defined for Kids


adjective de·scrip·tive \di-ˈskrip-tiv\

Definition of DESCRIPTIVE for Kids

:  giving information about what something is like <She wrote a very descriptive letter about her trip.>
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