dis·​tinc·​tive | \ di-ˈstiŋ(k)-tiv How to pronounce distinctive (audio) \

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 Her yellow posters, featuring the candidate looking toward the future with her name in slashes of purple type, were distinctive in a sea of red, white and blue. Alexandra Lange, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2021 The side view is less distinctive, as is common with SUVs. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 3 July 2021 The side view is less distinctive, as is common with SUVs. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 24 June 2021 Kloss' life is distinctive for another reason: He was born blind in 1937 and underwent experimental surgery at age 8 that partly restored his vision. Katy Read, Star Tribune, 25 June 2021 So, why are these roles both important for a project’s completion and what are their distinctive features? Jeannette Collazo, Forbes, 3 June 2021 There are, however, distinctive features of a more complex kind in this tale, among them its lack—relatively speaking—of clichéd characters and circumstances. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, 27 May 2021 The man also had two distinctive features: canines next to middle teeth and ears with large upper hollows. New York Times, 22 May 2021 The theater was the first major building and one of the most distinctive features of Casa Linda Plaza. Meagan Hurley, Dallas News, 20 May 2021

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

see distinct

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Time Traveler for distinctive

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near distinctive



distinctive insignia

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Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distinctive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distinctive. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for distinctive



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 How to pronounce distinctive (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on distinctive

Nglish: Translation of distinctive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distinctive for Arabic Speakers


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