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 One of the most distinctive features of the ship is the presence of two islands instead of the usual one overlooking the flight deck. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Hmm, South Korea’s First Aircraft Carrier Looks Awfully Familiar," 6 Jan. 2021 The Grinch is known for his distinctive voice and has been portrayed by the likes of Boris Karloff, Jim Carrey, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "How Joaquin Phoenix's Joker inspired Matthew Morrison's Grinch," 8 Dec. 2020 His distinctive voice quavered to traditional Persian music on state radio for years before supporting protesters following Iran’s contested 2009 election. Anchorage Daily News, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 SangYup Lee, head of Hyundai's Global Design Center, told journalists at a roundtable this week that future Hyundais can be expected to be just as distinctive-looking as the 2022 Tucson SUV is. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Tucson Continues Hyundai’s Push for Design Variation," 17 Sep. 2020 In both the food box program and the stimulus check letters, Mr. Trump's distinctive signature appears at the bottom of the page. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Included in government food aid boxes: A letter from President Trump," 2 Sep. 2020 Half of that distinctive signature seems to have been the artist’s real name. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "On his way to Texas fame, ‘noble’ artist with San Antonio ties was anything but," 20 June 2020 Often focusing on a particular spirit with a snacky food menu to match its origin, and employing many of the city’s best bartenders, Vogler’s bars and restaurants are stylish, fun and distinctive, making the recent closures all the more surprising. Tara Duggan, SFChronicle.com, "The most significant San Francisco Bay Area restaurant closures of 2020," 16 Dec. 2020 Daniel Plante, a composer and conductor who worked closely with Mr. Monod, described what made his musicianship distinctive. Washington Post, "Jacques-Louis Monod, influential French composer and conductor, dies at 93," 5 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distinctive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distinctive. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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