[ dih-fin-i-tiv ]
See synonyms for definitive on
  1. most reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study, or the like: the definitive biography of Andrew Jackson.

  2. serving to define, fix, or specify definitely: to clarify with a definitive statement.

  1. having its fixed and final form; providing a solution or final answer; satisfying all criteria: the definitive treatment for an infection; a definitive answer to a dilemma.

  2. Biology. providing the environment in which a fully developed parasite is able to reproduce, as is provided by a definitive host.

  1. a defining or limiting word, as an article, a demonstrative, or the like.

  2. Philately. a stamp that is a regular issue and is usually on sale for an extended period of time.: Compare commemorative (def. 2).

Origin of definitive

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Old French, from Latin dēfīnītīvus, equivalent to dēfīnīt(us) (see definite) + -īvus adjective suffix (see -ive)

Other words for definitive

Other words from definitive

  • de·fin·i·tive·ly, adverb
  • de·fin·i·tive·ness, noun
  • non·de·fin·i·tive, adjective
  • non·de·fin·i·tive·ness, noun
  • un·de·fin·i·tive, adjective
  • un·de·fin·i·tive·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with definitive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use definitive in a sentence

  • Such contrasts are often obvious; at other times they take definitiveness only when looked at from a particular point of view.

  • Why she was in it she could not have told, at least with any degree of definitiveness.

    Aletta | Bertram Mitford
  • The whole occurrence, charged with all the definitiveness of fate, was scant ten minutes in transition.

    The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls | Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

British Dictionary definitions for definitive


/ (dɪˈfɪnɪtɪv) /

  1. serving to decide or settle finally; conclusive

  2. most reliable, complete, or authoritative: the definitive reading of a text

  1. serving to define or outline

  2. zoology fully developed; complete: the definitive form of a parasite

    • (of postage stamps) permanently on sale

    • (as noun) a definitive postage stamp

  1. grammar a word indicating specificity of reference, such as the definite article or a demonstrative adjective or pronoun

Derived forms of definitive

  • definitively, adverb
  • definitiveness, 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