def·​i·​nite ˈde-fə-nit How to pronounce definite (audio)
: free of all ambiguity, uncertainty, or obscurity
demanded a definite answer
Her position on the issue was definite.
: unquestionable, decided
the quarterback was a definite hero today
a definite masterpiece
saw a definite improvement in her grades
grammar : typically designating an identified or immediately identifiable person or thing
the definite article the
: 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
of floral organs : being constant in number, usually less than 20, and occurring in multiples of the petal number
stamens definite
: cymose
a definite inflorescence
definiteness noun

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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.

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

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 Web Even 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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of definite was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near definite

Cite this Entry

“Definite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


def·​i·​nite ˈdef-(ə-)nət How to pronounce definite (audio)
: having certain or distinct limits : fixed
a definite period of time
: clear in meaning : explicit, exact
a definite answer
: unquestionable
a definite improvement
: typically designating an identified or immediately identifiable person or thing
the definite article "the"
definitely adverb
definiteness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on definite

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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