Definition of retentive
: having the power, property, or capacity of retaining soils retentive of moisture; especially : retaining knowledge easily a retentive memory
Recent Examples of retentive from the Web
O’Brien’s librarian is a heartbroken, anal-retentive loner who has a catharsis when someone returns a book that’s 123 years overdue.
If humans could be similarly modified, our corresponding brains might become extraordinarily retentive.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retentive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of retentive
Middle English retentif, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin retentivus, from Latin retentus, past participle of retinēre
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
RETENTIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of retentive for English Language Learners
: having the ability to remember things easily or for a long time
Medical Definition of retentive
: tending to retain: asa: retaining knowledge : having a good memory a retentive mindb: of, relating to, or being a dental retainer
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