def·​i·​nite | \ ˈde-fə-nit, ˈdef-nət\

Definition of definite

1a : 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
4a 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

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Other Words from definite

definitely adverb
definiteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Pollsters, though, caution against concluding there has been a definite switch in public opinion, since neither side has definitively pulled away and most surveys have a margin of error of 3 to 4 percentage points. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Brexit Revote? Calls for a Second Referendum Grow Louder," 18 Dec. 2018 While a ceremoniously dark lacquer shade is a more typical cold weather selection, the mother-of-two's barely-there polish choice is a definite trend in the making. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Emily Blunt Steps Out with Bare Legs—and Winter's Best Anti-Pedicure," 17 Dec. 2018 The Justice has a definite favorite in her collection: this simple white jabot from South Africa. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Collars Decoded: What Each Neckpiece Means," 30 Nov. 2018 At a news conference in Kabul, Bahrami said the casualty figures are not definite and that the numbers might change. Amir Shah, The Seattle Times, "Key Afghan city turned into ‘ghost town’ by deadly battles," 13 Aug. 2018 Times have changed, but there is still a definite interest in cultural preservation. Jim Kiest, San Antonio Express-News, "This weekend’s Folklife Festival savors Texas’ many flavors," 6 June 2018 The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and the accompanying sculpture garden are definite highlights, as is the Couterie Forest with its eight distinct ecosystems (and the city’s highest point, Laborde Mountain). Paul Oswell, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Things To Do In New Orleans," 4 Mar. 2018 The bill has since been amended to specify that victims of domestic violence would not have to attend counseling with their abuser before seeking a divorce, or be required to continue to live in the same household, which is a definite improvement. Ellie Delano, Woman's Day, "Alabama Wants To Make It Harder To Get A Divorce," 16 Apr. 2012 Judge Kavanaugh fumbled his response, perhaps confused by the definite article, implying that there is but one male body. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "How to Read ‘Body’ Language," 15 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of definite

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for definite

borrowed from Latin dēfīnītus, from past participle of dēfīnīre "to mark the limits of, determine, define"

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Statistics for definite

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for definite

The first known use of definite was in 1553

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More Definitions for definite


def·​i·​nite | \ ˈde-fə-nət \

Kids Definition of definite

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.

Other Words from definite

definitely adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on definite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for definite

Spanish Central: Translation of definite

Nglish: Translation of definite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of definite for Arabic Speakers

Comments on definite

What made you want to look up definite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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