definitive

1 of 2

adjective

de·​fin·​i·​tive di-ˈfi-nə-tiv How to pronounce definitive (audio)
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
3
a
: 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
definitively adverb
definitiveness noun

definitive

2 of 2

noun

: 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

Did you know?

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.

Choose the Right Synonym for definitive

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Baker told us that Brandy is her definitive Cinderella. Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal, Parents, 9 July 2024 Related Articles Cilley’s departure appears unrelated to last week’s announcement that HBC signed a definitive $2.65 billion agreement to acquire the Neiman Marcus Group. David Moin, WWD, 8 July 2024
Noun
This past year was, by any definitive, a rough one for the cryptoasset industry, and ended with what looks like a massive fraud being uncovered in the form of FTX. Sean Stein Smith, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 The road toward answering this question with a definitive yes doesn’t end with one game. Stephen Means, cleveland, 3 Sep. 2022 See all Example Sentences for definitive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'definitive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1951, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near definitive

Cite this Entry

“Definitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/definitive. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

definitive

adjective
de·​fin·​i·​tive
di-ˈfin-ət-iv
1
: serving to provide a final solution : decisive
a definitive victory
2
: being the most accurate and thorough
the definitive book on the subject
3
: serving to define or specify precisely
definitive laws
definitively adverb
definitiveness noun

Medical Definition

definitive

adjective
de·​fin·​i·​tive di-ˈfin-ət-iv How to pronounce definitive (audio)
: fully differentiated or developed
a definitive organ

More from Merriam-Webster on definitive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!