dis·trib·u·tive | \di-ˈstri-byü-tiv, -byə- \

Definition of distributive 

1 : of or relating to distribution: such as

a : dealing a proper share to each of a group

b : diffusing more or less evenly

2 of a word : referring singly and without exception to the members of a group each, either, and none are distributive

3a : being an operation (such as multiplication in a(b + c) = ab + ac) that produces the same result when operating on the whole mathematical expression as when operating on each part and collecting the results

b : being or relating to a rule or property concerning a distributive operation the distributive property of multiplication with respect to addition

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from distributive

distributively adverb
distributivity \-ˌstri-byü-ˈti-və-tē \ noun

Examples of distributive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The sale money will help make up for fewer local government distributive fund dollars coming in from the state, Krieger said. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "City council approves selling 8.2 acres of surplus land in west Naperville for $2.2 million," 6 June 2018 That included the number of staff positions, mail sent to their constituents, trips home, earmarks and other distributive spending, bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship, among others. Danny Hayes, Washington Post, "Do women in Congress work harder than their male colleagues?," 8 Mar. 2018 The state collects the income tax, and doles it out to local government from the distributive fund. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "State decision may cost Aurora $2 million," 11 Aug. 2017 A non-Equity theater, Broken Nose is more egalitarian in its distributive systems. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "‘At the Table’ returns, but with more seats this time," 28 June 2017 But nobody should have that power to do that and then be able to exercise distributive, control over the distribution and control over the content too. Eliot Van Buskirk, WIRED, "Video: FCC Commissioner Addresses AT&T’s Pearl Jam Censorship," 20 Aug. 2007

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distributive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of distributive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distributive

Share distributive

Statistics for distributive

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distributive

The first known use of distributive was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for distributive


dis·trib·u·tive | \di-ˈstri-byü-tiv, -byə-\

Kids Definition of distributive

1 : of or relating to the act of giving or spreading out

2 : producing the same answer when operating on the sum of several numbers as when operating on each and collecting the results Multiplication is distributive.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on distributive

What made you want to look up distributive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!