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

To British viewers, her policies might seem more plausible than another of her character’s distinctive qualities: an unapologetically Mancunian accent. The Economist, "In British politics, posh pronunciation reigns," 4 July 2019 The shiny glass top and matte body gave the phone a two-tone look, which was one of the few distinctive qualities of the Pixel line's design. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Pixel 3 XL review—Google software deserves better than this hardware," 15 Oct. 2018 As distinctive as her personality was Awkwafina’s razor rasp of a voice. Allison Glock, Marie Claire, "Awkwafina Never Thought She'd End Up Here," 11 Sep. 2019 The visuals that are not part of Charlotte’s dreams and memories have a dimmer, less distinctive, more low-tech indie look. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Giant': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 In 1980, Watt (bass, vocals) and his childhood friends D. Boon (guitar, vocals) and George Hurley (drums) formed the Minutemen, the smartest and most distinctive band to come out of SoCal’s punk scene. Jesse Pearson, Los Angeles Times, "We eat econo: Mike Watt on pork sandwiches, punk rock and the future of San Pedro," 4 Sep. 2019 However, until recently, some things—like our voices—have been distinctive and difficult to mimic. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A new kind of cybercrime uses AI and your voice against you," 31 Aug. 2019 One of the most distinctive touches: Carlton the Doorman (voiced by Lorenzo Music) was never seen. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Valerie Harper: ‘Rhoda’ star dead; she wowed with comedy, courage," 30 Aug. 2019 The neighborhood near Curtner and Booksin avenues is San Jose’s largest enclave of Eichler homes, built between 1959 and 1961 and known for their distinctive flat or low-sloped roofs, open floor plans and tall windows. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "Eichler neighborhood in San Jose added to historic register," 14 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for distinctive

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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Comments on distinctive

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