de·​mon·​stra·​tive | \ di-ˈmän(t)-strə-tiv How to pronounce demonstrative (audio) \

Definition of demonstrative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : demonstrating as real or true
b : characterized or established by demonstration
2 grammar : pointing out the one referred to and distinguishing it from others of the same class (as in that in "that house") demonstrative pronouns demonstrative adjectives
3a : marked by display of feeling made a demonstrative gesture
b : inclined to display feelings openly a demonstrative preacher



Definition of demonstrative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word or morpheme pointing out the one referred to and distinguishing it from others of the same class : a demonstrative (see demonstrative entry 1 sense 2) word or morpheme the demonstratives "this," "that," "these," and "those"

Other Words from demonstrative


demonstratively adverb
demonstrativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demonstrative

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of demonstrative in a Sentence

Adjective In the phrase “this is my hat,” the word “this” is a demonstrative pronoun. In the phrase “give me that book,” the word “that” is a demonstrative adjective.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective During arguments, Breyer is often demonstrative, waving his arms for emphasis. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2022 My parents just weren’t demonstrative in that fashion. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Apr. 2022 Thibodeau’s complaining to the referees is typically loud and demonstrative. Stefan Bondy,, 6 Mar. 2022 To put a measure on it: maybe 5% less demonstrative than in the salad days, because girls will be women, but just as engaging, and seemingly engaged. Chris Willman, Variety, 30 Mar. 2022 This is about the country, our pursuit of a more perfect union, and this is demonstrative of another step in that pursuit. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2022 With his demonstrative demeanor on the sideline and disheveled look, Madden was the ideal coach for the collection of castoffs and misfits that made up those Raiders teams. John Dubow,, 28 Dec. 2021 Some people have an intense and outwardly demonstrative physiological and mental reaction and the phobia can be severely debilitating. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 Many project scientists favored only a demonstrative use, such as an explosion over the Pacific, which would terrify without harming. George Iskander, Scientific American, 2 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demonstrative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of demonstrative


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for demonstrative


Middle English demonstratyf "based on logic, pointing out (of a pronoun)," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French demonstratif, borrowed from Late Latin dēmonstrātīvus "pointing out (of a pronoun), able to prove" (Latin, "displaying—in rhetoric"), from Latin dēmonstrātus, past participle of dēmonstrāre "to indicate, show, demonstrate" + -īvus -ive


Middle English demonstratyf, borrowed from Late Latin dēmonstrātīvum, noun derivative from neuter of dēmonstrātīvus demonstrative entry 1

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demonstrative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for demonstrative


de·​mon·​stra·​tive | \ di-ˈmän-strə-tiv How to pronounce demonstrative (audio) \

Kids Definition of demonstrative

1 : pointing out the one referred to and showing that it differs from others In "this is my dog" and "that is their dog," "this" and "that" are demonstrative pronouns.
2 : showing feeling freely a demonstrative person

More from Merriam-Webster on demonstrative

Nglish: Translation of demonstrative for Spanish Speakers


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