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 In a recent Gadget Lab podcast episode, my colleague Alan Henry told me that the distinctive duffels in The Expanse are not props. Adrienne So, Wired, "I Bought the Duffel Bag That's in The Expanse—and Love It," 2 Aug. 2020 The pop supergroups of the era made a splash thanks to catchy hits and distinctive styles that continue to have influence. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Chloe and Halle Channel the Spice Girls for the GLAAD Awards," 31 July 2020 Don Wild has quite a distinctive sartorial style and general look, with the goatee and the earrings and everything. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Christopher Meloni teases the return of Elliot Stabler and 'outrageous' new sitcom Maxxx," 9 July 2020 Nikolai Fadeyechev, one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s greatest dancers, who was hailed for his distinctive noble style and his chivalry as a partner to the Russian company’s leading ballerinas from the 1950s to the ’70s, died June 23 in Moscow. Anna Kisselgoff, BostonGlobe.com, "Nikolai Fadeyechev, elegant Bolshoi dancer," 5 July 2020 Chisholm Trail marker posts, in a distinctive style similar to old-time highway signposts, now can be found from Brownsville at the southernmost tip of Texas to Abilene, Kan. ExpressNews.com, "Marker at historic San Antonio hotel commemorates romance of cattle trail, if not the real thing," 4 July 2020 No lettering or seals. Be distinctive, or be related. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "How not to design Mississippi’s new state flag," 30 June 2020 The big and gruff Paul (Delroy Lindo), one of the most distinctive characters in recent cinema, is a Trump supporter, complete with MAGA cap, who thinks that immigrants are taking jobs from black people. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” Reviewed: Vietnam and the Never-Ending War of Being Black in America," 13 June 2020 This group of ladies developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. Kelly Kazek | Kkazek@al.com, al, "The colorful folk-art quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama," 1 June 2020

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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Statistics for distinctive

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Distinctive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distinctive. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for distinctive


How to pronounce distinctive (audio)

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

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