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.
conclusive applies to reasoning or logical proof that puts an end to debate or questioning.
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
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
He’s been played by everybody from Tony Randall to John Malkovich; Peter Ustinov portrayed the deductive sleuth six times, and David Suchet has made a career out of gifting TV viewers with the definitive take on Christie’s murder-mystery icon.—David Fear, Rolling Stone, 16 Sep. 2023 However, Morton-Maxson found himself in a state of anxious anticipation for several weeks, as there was no definitive diagnosis provided, the release stated.—Sandra Rose Salathe, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2023 The helm’s distinctive square shapes, extensive use of carbon fiber across the dashboard and futuristic design are definitive reminders of being aboard a Wally.—Giacomo Barbaro, Robb Report, 15 Sep. 2023 The race was now on to create the definitive AI detection tool.—Christopher Beam, WIRED, 14 Sep. 2023 To this point, months of House investigations have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, but McCarthy and conservatives in the House believe an impeachment process may root out the definitive proof of misdeeds that has thus far eluded them.—Grace Segers, The New Republic, 13 Sep. 2023 Anyone seeking definitive takeaways in the quarterback battle might not be able to find them next weekend.—Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2023 One year later at the same event, Sullivan was less definitive.—Matt Seyler, ABC News, 8 Sep. 2023 So much remains unknown about pitcher health – why some get hurt, while others enjoy decades of incident-free hard throwing – and through countless studies, trials and one 384-page bible on the subject, best practices have emerged but not definitive answers.—Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023
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 Now, Lauper is taking that iconic line and lending it to Sony Music Entertainment as the title of her forthcoming definitive, career-spanning documentary.—Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 3 May 2022 See More
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.
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