Simple Definition of restrictive
: limiting or controlling someone or something
grammar of a word or group of words : giving information about a person or thing that is needed to understand which person or thing is meant
Examples of restrictive in a sentence
In the sentence “The book that you ordered is out of print,” “that you ordered” is a restrictive clause.
Did You Know?
Restrictive covenants (that is, agreements) in real-estate deeds were once used to forbid the buyer from ever selling the property to anyone of another race. These are now illegal, though other kinds of restrictive covenants are very common; in some neighborhoods, they may even tell you what colors you can't paint your house. In grammar, a restrictive clause is one that limits the meaning of something that comes before it. In the sentence "That's the professor who I'm trying to avoid", "who I'm trying to avoid" is a restrictive clause, since it's what identifies the professor. But in the sentence "That's my History professor, who I'm trying to avoid", the same clause is nonrestrictive, since the professor has already been identified as "my History professor". There should always be a comma before a nonrestrictive clause, but not before a restrictive clause.
First Known Use of restrictive
RESTRICTIVE Defined for Kids
Definition of restrictive for Students
: serving or likely to keep within bounds
Legal Definition of restrictive
1a : of or relating to restriction b : serving or tending to restrict
2 : prohibiting further negotiation
Seen and Heard
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