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

Some prefer to have a distinctive voice and perspective. David Roberts, Vox, "My advice for aspiring explainer journalists," 9 Dec. 2018 Part nostalgic tribute, part fashion brag, stylish throwbacks like Scott’s prove that the distinctive look is here to stay. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Travis Scott Brings Back a Classic (And Kanye-Approved) Piece of Philo-Era Celine," 12 Nov. 2018 Of The Dragon Prince’s many qualities, its most distinctive is undoubtedly its animation, which appears to generate 3D-looking characters on a 2D plane. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The Dragon Prince is influenced by Avatar: The Last Airbender in the best ways," 7 Sep. 2018 Over the years, and despite his success, Oriol has maintained a shooting style that’s distinctive in its rawness. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "This Photographer Is the King of Capturing L.A.’s Lowrider and Street Cultures," 27 Mar. 2018 The team wants to build a machine that can identify plastic by spotting distinctive characteristics in light reflecting off it. Meghan Bartels, Newsweek, "There's So Much Plastic in the Oceans Scientists Want to Study it From Space," 20 Mar. 2018 Down syndrome is a genetic condition that affects cognitive ability, causing mild to severe learning disabilities and distinctive facial characteristics. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "Ohio judge blocks legislation preventing abortions in Down syndrome cases," 14 Mar. 2018 But there’s something unmistakably distinctive about Landrieu’s record that stands out in a crowded field of not-ready-for-prime-time senators and representatives shamelessly looking to pander to progressive activists. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Tariffs give endangered Dems an out," 7 Mar. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

14 Dec 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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