dis·​tinc·​tive | \di-ˈstiŋ(k)-tiv \

Definition of distinctive 

1a : marking as separate or different : serving to distinguish the distinctive flight of the crane

b : having or giving an uncommon and appealing quality : having or giving style or distinction a distinctive table setting a writer with a distinctive prose style

2 linguistics : capable of making a segment of utterance different in meaning as well as in sound from an otherwise identical utterance

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Other Words from distinctive

distinctively adverb
distinctiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for distinctive

characteristic, individual, peculiar, distinctive mean indicating a special quality or identity. characteristic applies to something that distinguishes or identifies a person or thing or class. responded with her characteristic wit individual stresses qualities that distinguish one from all other members of the same kind or class. a highly individual writing style peculiar applies to qualities possessed only by a particular individual or class or kind and stresses rarity or uniqueness. an eccentricity that is peculiar to the British distinctive indicates qualities distinguishing and uncommon and often superior or praiseworthy. a distinctive aura of grace and elegance

Examples of distinctive in a Sentence

He had a very distinctive walk. This wine has a more distinctive flavor than that one. The store sells only the most distinctive chocolates.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the end, Hudson chose to keep West on her team, citing his distinctive voice. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Cannot Believe Jennifer Hudson Eliminated Matt Johnson Last Night," 23 Oct. 2018 With such a powerful, distinctive voice, there’s no way Aguilera can ever fly under the radar for long. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Christina Aguilera and Jimmy Fallon Busked in Disguise on NYC Subway: Watch," 15 June 2018 Many of the country’s more distinctive and provocative artists have been especially hard on themselves. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Can Protest Art Get Its Mojo Back?," 7 May 2018 In addition to creating a more distinctive dairy-free product, infusing cheese with herbs and spices also helps cheat the taste of traditional dairy cheeses, which get their variation from factors like the type of animal milk and aging process. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appetit, "What IS Nut Cheese, Exactly, and Can't We Call It Something Else?," 24 Apr. 2018 The most distinctive dish at Smoke, however, is a Tex-Mex twist on barbecue: a trio of tacos topped with smoked pork belly and mango salsa. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Smoke BBQ brings a legitimate barbecue contender to downtown Audubon," 10 July 2018 The Bay Area’s most distinctive period, after the Gold Rush, was the Summer of Love. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors’, Rockets’ players in sync with home states’ vibe," 12 May 2018 The president of one of Alabama's most distinctive companies has been elected to a two-year term on the Alabama Retail Association's Board of Directors. William Thornton, AL.com, "Unclaimed Baggage Center president to head Alabama Retail Association board," 27 Apr. 2018 What’s still debated, though, is which 1968 recording initially adapted a reggae beat distinctive from its rocksteady forerunner. Patricia Meschino, Billboard, "As Reggae Celebrates 50 Years, Some of the Genre's Pioneers Look Back on Its Worldwide Ascent," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distinctive.' 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 distinctive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for distinctive

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for distinctive

The first known use of distinctive was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of distinctive

: having a quality or characteristic that makes a person or thing different from others : different in a way that is easy to notice

: appealing or interesting because of an unusual quality or characteristic


dis·​tinc·​tive | \di-ˈstiŋk-tiv \

Kids Definition of distinctive

1 : clearly marking a person or a thing as different from others As they got closer he … could hear Mr. Sir's distinctive bark.— Louis Sachar, Holes

2 : having or giving a special look or way distinctive clothes

Other Words from distinctive

distinctively adverb

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