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[def-uh-nit] /ˈdɛf ə nɪt/
clearly defined or determined; not vague or general; fixed; precise; exact:
a definite quantity; definite directions.
having fixed limits; bounded with precision:
a definite area.
positive; certain; sure:
It is definite that he will take the job.
defining; limiting.
Botany. (of an inflorescence) determinate.
Origin of definite
1520-30; < Latin dēfīnītus limited, precise, past participle of dēfīnīre; see define, -ite2
Related forms
definiteness, noun
nondefinite, adjective
nondefinitely, adverb
nondefiniteness, noun
quasi-definite, adjective
quasi-definitely, adverb
semidefinite, adjective
semidefinitely, adverb
semidefiniteness, noun
undefinite, adjective
undefinitely, adverb
undefiniteness, noun
Can be confused
definite, definitive.
1. specific, particular. 2. well-defined. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for definiteness
Historical Examples
  • It can hardly help the definiteness of a meaning: is it therefore to be disregarded?

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • Sergius sternly declined, but was horrified by the definiteness of his desire.

    Father Sergius Leo Tolstoy
  • It comes from the very crispness and definiteness with which he sees things.

    My Contemporaries In Fiction David Christie Murray
  • On such a mysterious subject, definiteness is neither to be expected nor desired.

  • The natural feelings of the people lack purpose and definiteness.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • His great success in war was due largely to his definiteness of aim.

    How to Succeed Orison Swett Marden
  • Sturm's course has the merit of definiteness, thoroughness, and unity.

    History of Education Levi Seeley
  • There was definiteness in his refusal; the shake of his head emphasized it too.

    Sundry Accounts

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • It is impossible to answer the question with anything like definiteness.

    The American Empire

    Scott Nearing
  • One great lack in the church today is a lack of definiteness.

    Sanctification J. W. Byers
British Dictionary definitions for definiteness


clearly defined; exact; explicit
having precise limits or boundaries
known for certain; sure: it is definite that they have won
  1. denoting a type of growth in which the main stem ends in a flower, as in a cymose inflorescence; determinate
  2. (esp of flower parts) limited or fixed in number in a given species
Derived Forms
definiteness, noun
definitude (dɪˈfɪnɪˌtjuːd) noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dēfīnītus limited, distinct; see define
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for definiteness



1550s, from Latin definitus "defined, bounded, limited," past participle of definire (see define). Definite means "defined, clear, precise, unmistakable;" definitive means "having the character of finality."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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