Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ri-spek-tiv] /rɪˈspɛk tɪv/
pertaining individually or severally to each of a number of persons, things, etc.; particular:
I will now discuss the respective merits of the candidates.
Origin of respective
1515-25; < Medieval Latin respectīvus, equivalent to Latin respect(us) (see respect) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
respectiveness, noun
separate, individual, corresponding.
irrespective. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for respective
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For many years he and Mr. Gladstone had been at the head of their respective parties.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • The troops reached their respective camps at about 11 o'clock.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • We were all dressed in white, with the respective colours of our various classes.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Moreover, his feelings were hurt by the disproportion of their respective ages.

  • Hoche, Humbert, and Pichegru, began their respective careers as private soldiers.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
British Dictionary definitions for respective


belonging or relating separately to each of several people or things; several: we took our respective ways home
an archaic word for respectful
Derived Forms
respectiveness, noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for respective

mid-15c., "regardful, observing or noting with attention," from Medieval Latin respectivus "having regard for," from Latin respect- past participle stem of respicere (see respect (n.)). Meaning "relating or pertaining severally each to each" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for respective

Word Value for respective

Scrabble Words With Friends