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

Luckily, that last question does, in fact, have a definitive answer. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "It's a Sofa, Not a Couch," 9 Mar. 2019 Known collectively as the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, the new system should be up and running by 2020 and could deliver definitive data in the early part of that decade, says Steve Brice, head of Fermilab’s Neutrino Division. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Evidence Builds for a New Kind of Neutrino," 7 June 2018 Still, police agencies will need to recognize that the tool offers probabilities, not definitive answers, and not place undue weight on the results, Kaye added. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "IUPUI prof develops 'biological witness' test to predict skin, hair & eye color from DNA," 29 May 2018 While there is no definitive data on financial aid fraud involving university dollars, the Education Department’s inspector general routinely investigates school officials accused of misappropriating federal aid. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Washington Post, "Howard University reveals that terminated employees misappropriated $369,000," 9 Apr. 2018 The numbers are not definitive, and monthly figures often fluctuate. Brian Bennett, latimes.com, "White House makes hasty plan to send National Guard to border, leaving mission and duration unclear," 5 Apr. 2018 Some clinical trial purists, however, may say the mortality results aren’t definitive because the companies decided to analyze those findings after the study was complete, rather than planning it in advance. Michelle Cortez, Bloomberg.com, "Regeneron, Sanofi Cut Heart Drug's Price as Trial Disappoints," 10 Mar. 2018 However, this statement from the Air Force—which would have access to definitive data about the Zuma accident—is likely to go a long way toward answering questions about SpaceX's reliability. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX gets good news from the Air Force on the Zuma mission," 22 Jan. 2018 Even without definitive data, a number of fertility doctors find that the treatment's a value-add. Kristen Dold, Marie Claire, "Could Acupuncture Get You Pregnant?," 18 Sep. 2017

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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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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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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