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"

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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 Workplaces and mental health advocates alike must move beyond performative allyship to demonstrative advocacy. Mind Share Partners, Forbes, "Anti-Asian Racism Is A Mental Health Crisis And It’s Finally Time For Workplaces To Change It," 19 Mar. 2021 In fact all season Towns hasn't been as demonstrative with officials. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Karl-Anthony Towns toning down his arguing with officials," 24 Feb. 2021 But in 2017 the group, now headed by Springfield, held an international design competition to remake the plaza and create a more demonstrative memorial that would convey the story of Milk and his legacy. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, "A Harvey Milk memorial is in the works for the Castro - again," 22 Feb. 2021 Mark, who played football at Northwestern University, has a granite chin and a leaders’ demonstrative tone. Willie Allen Jr.,, "First responder couple protects and serves Central Florida," 26 Feb. 2021 Having played for demonstrative coaches in Spoelstra and also Tom Thibodeau, during his time with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, Heat forward Jimmy Butler agreed that what matters most is the message. Ira Winderman,, "Salty Spoelstra? Smiling Spoelstra? Heat coach’s emotions now masked, but not muted," 21 Dec. 2020 The Cougars flipped the script in the second game with their 25-14 demonstrative response. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "Mount Notre Dame volleyball perseveres, wins Division I state volleyball championship," 15 Nov. 2020 The French roll their eyes at America’s demonstrative Christianity. Ben Smith, New York Times, "The President vs. the American Media," 15 Nov. 2020 Derek Carr dropped back on third-and-long, saw nothing develop downfield and decided to scramble 11 yards to a first down before punctuating the play with a demonstrative fist pump and scream. Josh Dubow, Star Tribune, "Derek Carr adds running threat for Raiders this season," 5 Nov. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for demonstrative

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for demonstrative

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demonstrative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for demonstrative



English Language Learners Definition of demonstrative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : freely and openly showing emotion or feelings
grammar : showing who or what is being referred to



English Language Learners Definition of demonstrative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word (such as "this," "that," "these," or "those") that tells who or what is being referred to


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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demonstrative

Nglish: Translation of demonstrative for Spanish Speakers

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