descriptive

adjective de·scrip·tive \ di-ˈskrip-tiv \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of descriptive

1 : presenting observations about the characteristics of someone or something : serving to describe
  • a descriptive account
2 a : referring to, constituting, or grounded in matters of observation or experience
  • the descriptive basis of science
b : factually grounded or informative rather than normative, prescriptive, or emotive
  • descriptive cultural studies
3 of a modifier
a : expressing the quality, kind, or condition of what is denoted by the modified term
  • hot in "hot water" is a descriptive adjective
4 linguistics : of, relating to, or dealing with the structure of a language at a particular time usually with exclusion of historical and comparative data
  • descriptive linguistics

descriptively

adverb

descriptiveness

noun

Examples of descriptive in a Sentence

  1. She gave a descriptive account of the journey.

  2. a talent for descriptive writing

  3. a poem full of descriptive detail

  4. The black cat was given the descriptive name “Midnight.”

  5. The book is a descriptive grammar.

Recent Examples of descriptive from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of descriptive


DESCRIPTIVE Defined for English Language Learners

descriptive

adjective

Definition of descriptive for English Language Learners

  • : giving information about how something or someone looks, sounds, etc. : using words to describe what something or someone is like

  • : providing facts about how a language is actually used rather than rules that tell people how it should be used


DESCRIPTIVE Defined for Kids

descriptive

adjective de·scrip·tive \ di-ˈskrip-tiv \

Definition of descriptive for Students

: giving information about what something is like She wrote a very descriptive letter about her trip.


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of very fine texture or delicate form

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