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.
explicit implies such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding.
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
Examples of definite in a Sentence
We'll need a definite answer by Tuesday.
The answer is a definite no.
I don't know anything definite yet.
The teacher sets definite standards for her students.
She seems to be pretty definite about leaving.
I am definite that we will win. See More
Recent Examples on the WebEven after the public apology, Timberlake’s reputation took a definite hit.—Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 18 Sep. 2023 Sierra Canyon has established itself as one of the top four teams in the Southland and a definite candidate to make its first appearance in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs after a 40-6 win over Orange Lutheran.—Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2023 Braun does have at least one definite television project on the way.—Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 13 Sep. 2023 So launching some new artists on the album was also a definite priority.—Gail Mitchell, Billboard, 13 Sep. 2023 But the San Diego River Park Foundation didn’t have enough data to show a definite connection.—Blake Nelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Sep. 2023 The two of them going off into the smoke and bokeh as a definite twosome was a nod to the potential of Daughters of the Dragon.—Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2023 Confounding these complexities is the work of Nobel-winning physicists who ran experiments on entangled photons and determined that objects may lack definite properties until they are observed (by us, namely).—Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, 29 Aug. 2023 The space is a definite hub for the city’s travelers, but also for those who admire the feel of a trendy, sleek, and snazzy establishment.—Jessica Chapel, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'definite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
borrowed from Latin dēfīnītus, from past participle of dēfīnīre "to mark the limits of, determine, define"