definitive

adjective
de·​fin·​i·​tive | \ di-ˈfi-nə-tiv How to pronounce definitive (audio) \

Definition of definitive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving to provide a final solution or to end a situation a definitive victory could not give a definitive diagnosis
2 : authoritative and apparently exhaustive a definitive critical biography
3a : serving to define or specify precisely established definitive guidelines for sentencing criminals
b : serving as a perfect example : quintessential a definitive bourgeois A slow race is the definitive Leechfield competition. You win it by coming in last.— Mary Karr
4 biology : fully differentiated or developed a definitive organ
5 of a postage stamp : issued as a regular stamp for the country or territory in which it is to be used

definitive

noun

Definition of definitive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a postage stamp issued as a regular stamp for the country or territory in which it is to be used : a definitive (see definitive entry 1 sense 5) postage stamp — compare provisional

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Other Words from definitive

Adjective

definitively adverb
definitiveness noun

Synonyms for definitive

Synonyms: Adjective

authoritative, classic, classical, magisterial

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Choose the Right Synonym for definitive

Adjective

conclusive, decisive, determinative, definitive mean bringing to an end. conclusive applies to reasoning or logical proof that puts an end to debate or questioning. conclusive evidence decisive may apply to something that ends a controversy, a contest, or any uncertainty. a decisive battle determinative adds an implication of giving a fixed character or direction. the determinative factor in the court's decision definitive applies to what is put forth as final and permanent. the definitive biography

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Something definitive is complete and final. A definitive example is the perfect example. A definitive answer is usually a strong yes or no. A definitive biography contains everything we'll ever need to know about someone. Ella Fitzgerald's famous 1950s recordings of American songs have even been called definitive--but no one ever wanted them to be the last.

Examples of definitive in a Sentence

Adjective

We need a definitive answer to this question. The court has issued a definitive ruling. a definitive collection of the band's albums
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There was no birth of Italian, nor any definitive death of Latin. The Economist, "Latin is dead—yet it also lives on," 8 June 2019 The Pentagon released its definitive report on the mission in Niger and the many shortcomings that led to an ambush of the Green Beret detachment by militants. Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Top Military Brass Will Avoid Discipline Over Flawed 2017 Niger Mission," 6 June 2019 Looney, who sat out Wednesday’s Game 3 loss to the Raptors with the injury, will undergo more evaluation to determine the next phase of his rehab and put a more definitive timetable on his return. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ Kevon Looney could return in NBA Finals," 6 June 2019 Valencia have entered talks with Manchester United over the possible transfer of definitive flop (at least in the eyes of the Daily Mail) Matteo Darmian. SI.com, "Transfer Rumours: Mbappe to Madrid, Moreno to Sevilla, Maguire to Man City & More," 6 June 2019 But in the past year two books, one by a historian and the other by a journalist, have attempted to tell the definitive documentary story of the disaster. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What HBO’s “Chernobyl” Got Right, and What It Got Terribly Wrong," 4 June 2019 The contenders are many but there can only be one definitive anthem. Jason Parham, WIRED, "2019's Top Contenders for the Song of Summer," 4 June 2019 Then came what’s now considered the most definitive study on the question, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update in 2017. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Sperm counts are falling. This isn’t the reproductive apocalypse — yet.," 30 May 2019 Let’s hope the bribery ring’s mastermind, Rick Singer, spends his time in prison writing the definitive book on college admissions, a heart of darkness no one knows better than he. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "The College-Admissions Mess," 22 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'definitive.' 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 definitive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for definitive

Adjective

Middle English diffynytif, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French diffinitif "final, decisive," borrowed from Medieval Latin dēfīnītīvus, diffīnītīvus, going back to Latin dēfīnītīvus "involving definition," from dēfīnītus "limited, clearly defined" (past participle of dēfīnīre "to mark the limits of, determine, define") + -īvus -ive

Noun

derivative of definitive entry 1

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Statistics for definitive

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for definitive

The first known use of definitive was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for definitive

definitive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of definitive

: not able to be argued about or changed : final and settled
: complete, accurate, and considered to be the best of its kind

definitive

adjective
de·​fin·​i·​tive | \ di-ˈfin-ət-iv How to pronounce definitive (audio) \

Medical Definition of definitive

: fully differentiated or developed a definitive organ

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