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



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

Other Words from definitive


definitively adverb
definitiveness noun

Synonyms for definitive

Synonyms: Adjective

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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

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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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The final Android 12 code is expected to launch during the third quarter, although there is no definitive date. Ewan Spence, Forbes, 6 May 2022 And although his initial murder trial took place in 2003, Michael Peterson's saga didn't have definitive ending until 2018. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 5 May 2022 Trump now has a definitive rebuttal to those who believed his grip over the party was loosening, and Republican candidates in other states are certain to exert even more energy trying to win his approval. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 4 May 2022 But the opinion is far from definitive on that important question. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 May 2022 More definitive proof of their growing relationship this weekend is that Davidson and Kardashian made their red carpet debut together at the 2022 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 2 May 2022 By contrast, history provides a definitive cap on Miami's proud draft run, and that ending came with a thud. Chase Goodbread, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Meanwhile, researchers are looking for more definitive proof linking the cannons to British ships from the American Revolution. CBS News, 29 Apr. 2022 Ultimately, Bateman said, the final set of episodes had to consider the kind of definitive statement the show wanted to make and, specifically, what message Mundy wished to send. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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.

First Known Use of definitive


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for definitive


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


derivative of definitive entry 1

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Time Traveler for definitive

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

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Dictionary Entries Near definitive



definitive callus

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Definitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for definitive


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

Medical Definition of definitive

: fully differentiated or developed a definitive organ

More from Merriam-Webster on definitive

Nglish: Translation of definitive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of definitive for Arabic Speakers


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