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

effusive, emotional, touchy-feely, uninhibited, unreserved, unrestrained

Antonyms: Adjective

inhibited, reserved, restrained, undemonstrative, unemotional

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Examples of demonstrative in a Sentence


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

Articles, demonstrative, and adjectives all inflected for case in Old English, so English speakers a few hundred years ago would have found German pretty simple. Michelle Sheehan, Quartz, "Five reasons English speakers struggle to learn other languages," 3 July 2019 His intense eyes and demonstrative gesticulation suggest the gregariousness of someone used to managing the front and back of the house. Sameer Rao,, "How the owner of a Baltimore sushi restaurant became a World Series of Poker contender," 28 June 2019 His gaze is cast downward, and even the hands thrust into his pants feel more protective than demonstrative. Sharon Mizota,, "Review: A painter probes hip-hop stereotypes and what it means to be black and male," 17 June 2019 With their lopsided victory, the Bulldogs extended their winning streak to nine consecutive games by blasting four home runs and accumulating 18 hits in the demonstrative home triumph. Samford Athletics,, "Samford basketball adds Henderson, Jr., to 2018-19 roster," 12 Apr. 2018 Physical affection, for example, was far more demonstrative between female friends than it is today (in America, at least), as were passionate and open declarations of devotion. Sara Petersen, Vox, "Why do we stop giving meaningful gifts to our friends?," 3 Dec. 2018 Between this and Miley Cyrus's behind-the-scenes pictures of her wedding to Liam Hemsworth, 2019 appears to be the year of demonstrative, in public, over-the-top celebrity love. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Katy Perry's New Engagement Ring Looks a LOT Like This Royal's Ring," 15 Feb. 2019 Kate and Meghan have, in their public appearance, been sure to squash rumors again and again about any reports that there might be a feud between them, raving about each other and being kind and demonstrative. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana's Former Butler Weighs in on Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle," 6 Feb. 2019 Anderson, one of the game’s great tinkerers, focused for much of the past year on being more demonstrative on court to keep himself in the moment. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Wimbledon: After Many, Many Hours, Kevin Anderson Beats John Isner in the Semifinals," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for demonstrative

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demonstrative

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on demonstrative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demonstrative

Spanish Central: Translation of demonstrative

Nglish: Translation of demonstrative for Spanish Speakers

Comments on demonstrative

What made you want to look up demonstrative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a small bunch of flowers

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