[ dih-fek-tiv ]
See synonyms for defective on
  1. Sometimes defected . having a defect or flaw; faulty; imperfect: a defective machine.

  2. Psychology. characterized by subnormal intelligence or behavior.

  1. Grammar. (of an inflected word or its inflection) lacking one or more of the inflected forms proper to most words of the same class in the language, as English must, which occurs only in the present tense.

  1. a defective person or thing.

Origin of defective

First recorded in 1375–1425; from Late Latin dēfectīvus, equivalent to dēfectus (see defect) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English defectif, from Middle French, from Late Latin, as above

Other words for defective

Opposites for defective

Other words from defective

  • de·fec·tive·ly, adverb
  • de·fec·tive·ness, noun
  • non·de·fec·tive, adjective
  • non·de·fec·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·de·fec·tive·ness, noun
  • pre·de·fec·tive, adjective
  • un·de·fec·tive, adjective
  • un·de·fec·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·de·fec·tive·ness, noun

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

How to use defective in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for defective


/ (dɪˈfɛktɪv) /

  1. having a defect or flaw; imperfect; faulty

  2. (of a person) below the usual standard or level, esp in intelligence

  1. grammar (of a word) lacking the full range of inflections characteristic of its form class, as for example must, which has no past tense

Derived forms of defective

  • defectively, adverb
  • defectiveness, 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