de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tive di-ˈtər-mə-ˌnā-tiv How to pronounce determinative (audio)
: having power or tendency to determine : tending to fix, settle, or define something
regard experiments as determinative of the principles from which deductions could be madeS. F. Mason
determinative noun
Choose the Right Synonym for determinative

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

Examples of determinative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Numbers are determinative in baseball and politics. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2024 But oil is traded on a global market in which the U.S. is a major but by no means determinative player. Dominic Pino, National Review, 24 Jan. 2024 While the results of the first two nominating contests might not be determinative, Iowa and New Hampshire can whittle the field, provide candidates with momentum heading into other early-voting states and set the stage for Super Tuesday. Rosie Ettenheim, WSJ, 15 Jan. 2024 But the candidates’ records and positions on homelessness, or any other issue, may not be as determinative as hard political dynamics — which includes Donald Trump. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 The Supreme Court has repeatedly found that only the sincerity of someone’s religious belief, not its orthodoxy or centrality to a system of beliefs, is determinative. Charles McCrary, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2023 The effort could also force McCarthy and his allies to strategize with Democrats, further irritating the hard-right, because the minority party will play a determinative role in whether McCarthy can hold on to his leadership seat. Marianna Sotomayor, Mariana Alfaro, Paul Kane and Leigh Ann Caldwell The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 3 Oct. 2023 Number one is that, whatever happens in debate number one will not be determinative of the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary. ABC News, 27 Aug. 2023 While Iowa has not always been determinative in primary contests, most of the field will descend on Des Moines this weekend and next week as the state hosts its annual fair. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 10 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'determinative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of determinative was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near determinative

Cite this Entry

“Determinative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tive di-ˈtər-mə-ˌnā-tiv, -nə-tiv How to pronounce determinative (audio)
: having the power or tendency to determine
a fact determinative of the issue

More from Merriam-Webster on determinative

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