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

The day started with the teams locked at 8-8 after four sessions, and the first definitive break of the entire contest happened when the Americans took the lead for the first time since Friday lunchtime, at 12-11. BostonGlobe.com, "The putt was from 7 feet, slightly left to right, and it never looked like missing.," 17 Sep. 2019 Village Manager Matt Formica and Tappendorf said the board should take definitive action since the state law will be in effect soon. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Glenview trustees want to ‘say no right now’ to cannabis-selling businesses in the village, may revisit after seeing impact on other towns," 17 Sep. 2019 Because of Manning’s standing in the organization, any type of movement here has to be swift and definitive. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning Showing Their Mortality as Quarterbacks," 16 Sep. 2019 There's never a definitive timeline when a franchise enters a rebuilding period. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Fever have young assets, hope to add No. 1 pick to accelerate rebuild," 16 Sep. 2019 Holz urges caution, however, noting that the evidence for the overtone isn't quite strong enough to claim a definitive observation. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Black hole reverberations suggest the cosmic beasts are as ‘bald’ as cue balls," 13 Sep. 2019 This past Thursday, in Cape Town, thousands of people marched on Parliament to demand a more definitive and urgent response to violence against women. Rosa Lyster, The New Yorker, "The Death of Uyinene Mrwetyana and the Rise of South Africa’s #AmINext Movement," 12 Sep. 2019 There isn’t one definitive cause of PCOS, but researchers know of several suspected factors that might play off each other. Mary Claire Lagroue, SELF, "Why Is PCOS Still So Hard for Doctors to Understand?," 12 Sep. 2019 There’s a definitive rhythm to each Cueto start that lets everyone in the stadium know which player is in control of the tempo. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Johnny Cueto’s performance reminds Giants what they missed, what they desperately need," 11 Sep. 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

15 Oct 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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Comments on definitive

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to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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