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  1. characterized by or given to open exhibition or expression of one's emotions, attitudes, etc., especially of love or affection: She wished her fiancé were more demonstrative.
  2. serving to demonstrate; explanatory or illustrative.
  3. serving to prove the truth of anything; indubitably conclusive.
  4. Grammar. indicating or singling out the thing referred to. This is a demonstrative pronoun.
  1. Grammar. a demonstrative word, as this or there.

Origin of demonstrative

1350–1400; Middle English demonstratif (< Middle French) < Latin dēmonstrātīvus, equivalent to dēmonstrāt(us) (see demonstrate) + -īvus -ive
Related formsde·mon·stra·tive·ly, adverbde·mon·stra·tive·ness, nounnon·de·mon·stra·tive, adjectivenon·de·mon·stra·tive·ly, adverbnon·de·mon·stra·tive·ness, nounpre·de·mon·stra·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of demonstrative

Historical Examples of demonstrative

British Dictionary definitions for demonstrative


  1. tending to manifest or express one's feelings easily or unreservedly
  2. (postpositive foll by of) serving as proof; indicative
  3. involving or characterized by demonstrationa demonstrative lecture
  4. conclusive; indubitabledemonstrative arguments
  5. grammar denoting or belonging to a class of determiners used to point out the individual referent or referents intended, such as this, that, these, and thoseCompare interrogative, relative
  1. grammar a demonstrative word or construction
Derived Formsdemonstratively, adverbdemonstrativeness, 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

Word Origin and History for demonstrative

late 14c., "characterized by logic, based on logic," from Old French démonstratif (14c.), from Latin demonstrativus "pointing out, demonstrating," from past participle stem of demonstrare (see demonstration). Grammatical sense, "pointing out the thing referred to," is mid-15c. Meaning "given to outward expressions of feelings" is from 1819. Demonstrative pronoun is late 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper