definite

adjective def·i·nite \ ˈde-fə-nit , ˈdef-nət \
Updated on: 5 Dec 2017

Definition of definite

1 a : free of all ambiguity, uncertainty, or obscurity
  • demanded a definite answer
  • Her position on the issue was definite.
b : unquestionable, decided
  • the quarterback was a definite hero today
  • a definite masterpiece
  • saw a definite improvement in her grades
2 grammar : typically designating an identified or immediately identifiable person or thing
  • the definite article the
3 : having distinct or certain limits
  • set definite standards for pupils to meet
  • … the side striking the new coin is flattened and less definite.
  • —Jed Stevenson
4 a of floral organs : being constant in number, usually less than 20, and occurring in multiples of the petal number
  • stamens definite
b : cymose
  • a definite inflorescence

definitely

adverb

definiteness

noun

Examples of definite in a Sentence

  1. We'll need a definite answer by Tuesday.

  2. The answer is a definite no.

  3. I don't know anything definite yet.

  4. The teacher sets definite standards for her students.

  5. She seems to be pretty definite about leaving.

  6. I am definite that we will win.

Recent Examples of definite from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'definite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Spelling: It's definite NOT definate

This word can be tricky to spell because its last syllable has that amorphous schwa sound as its vowel.

To remember that the word ends in ite and not ate you can think of a few things:

The word definite doesn't go on forever; it's finite. (Get it? deFINITE.)

The etymology of definite can also be useful in remembering the word's spelling. Definite traces back to the Latin word finire meaning "to limit, end, FINISH." Connect finish to definite and voilà: you can definitely spell definite correctly.

Origin and Etymology of definite

Latin definitus, past participle of definire — see define

Synonym Discussion of definite

explicit, definite, express, specific mean perfectly clear in meaning. explicit implies such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding.
    • explicit instructions
definite stresses precise, clear statement or arrangement that leaves no doubt or indecision.
    • the law is definite in such cases
express implies both explicitness and direct and positive utterance.
    • her express wishes
specific applies to what is precisely and fully treated in detail or particular.
    • two specific criticisms


DEFINITE Defined for Kids

definite

adjective def·i·nite \ ˈde-fə-nət \

Definition of definite for Students

1 : having certain or distinct limits
  • a definite period of time
2 : clear in meaning
  • a definite answer
3 : unquestionable
  • Your grades show a definite improvement.

definitely

adverb


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