[ ri-spek-tiv ]
See synonyms for respective on
  1. 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

First recorded in 1515–25; from Medieval Latin respectīvus, equivalent to Latin respect(us) (see respect) + -īvus -ive

Other words for respective

Opposites for respective

Other words from respective

  • re·spec·tive·ness, noun

Words Nearby respective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use respective in a sentence

  • We can do as we like with Hindu and Mussalman so long as we leave their respective religions untouched.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • Here the pair reached the "Dun Cow" and retired to their respective quarters.

  • Full provision is made for Catholics and Nonconformists desiring to attend the services of their respective bodies.

    Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham | Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
  • Public functionaries will receive their orders for military service from their respective administrative chiefs.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • After cobbing, great care is required in sorting the ore into the respective grades of Nos. 1, 2, and 3.

    Asbestos | Robert H. Jones

British Dictionary definitions for respective


/ (rɪˈspɛktɪv) /

  1. belonging or relating separately to each of several people or things; several: we took our respective ways home

  2. an archaic word for respectful

Derived forms of respective

  • 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