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

Donald Trump’s voice is incredibly distinctive, and people have strong reactions to it. Recode Staff, Recode, "The New York Times’ The Daily podcast host Michael Barbaro talks with Kara Swisher," 29 June 2018 And to create something that's small, personal, distinctive, ambitious and welcoming, all at once. Isa Giallorenzo, Chicago Reader, "Style Ravenswood's Sailor features jewelry, textiles, fine teas, handmade shoes, and more," 25 June 2018 The more distinctive the eyebrow—in terms of grooming and thickness—the more self-centered the participant had scored on their NPI test. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Got Big Brows? Science Says You’re Probably a Narcissist," 7 June 2018 The most distinctive and one of my favorites is the Cape Cod Crunch, chocolate pudding pie with chunks of crunchy toffee crumbled into it. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Try Oprah's favorite pie in Cape Cod," 22 May 2018 The Flying Tigers, known for the distinctive shark-teeth design painted on the fuselage of their P-40 fighters, carried out aerial battles against Japanese planes in the early stages of World War II. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Anna Chennault, secret Nixon envoy, Washington figure of ‘glamour and mystery,’ dies at 94," 3 Apr. 2018 In the Manchac Swamp, for example, radial pull-boat canals were dug to extract cypress logs, creating distinctive wagon-wheel patterns easily discernible from the air today. Richard Campanella, NOLA.com, "A canal in Central City? Little-known waterway once connected city to swamp," 6 Mar. 2018 Marc Fisher’s overview of pop culture helps capture the distinctive look of 1968 pop culture with photographs, movie and concert posters, and album and magazine covers. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "Behind the scenes with influential graphic artists from 50 years ago," 30 May 2018 Previously popular for its distinctive fluffy look, lightness, and warmth, mohair is now falling out of favor with some of the world's largest retailers. refinery29.com, "Why Your Favorite Fast-Fashion Stores Just Banned Mohair," 16 May 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

7 Sep 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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