[ dih-stingk-tiv ]
See synonyms for: distinctivedistinctivelydistinctiveness on Thesaurus.com

  1. serving to distinguish; characteristic; distinguishing: the distinctive stripes of the zebra.

  2. having a special quality, style, attractiveness, etc.; notable.

Origin of distinctive

First recorded in 1575–85; from Medieval Latin distinctīvus; equivalent to distinct + -ive

Other words for distinctive

Other words from distinctive

  • dis·tinc·tive·ly, adverb
  • dis·tinc·tive·ness, noun
  • sub·dis·tinc·tive, adjective
  • sub·dis·tinc·tive·ly, adverb
  • sub·dis·tinc·tive·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with distinctive

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use distinctive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for distinctive


/ (dɪˈstɪŋktɪv) /

  1. serving or tending to distinguish

  2. denoting one of a set of minimal features of a phoneme in a given language that serve to distinguish it from other phonemes. The distinctive features of /p/ in English are that it is voiceless, bilabial, non-nasal, and plosive; /b/ is voiced, bilabial, non-nasal, and plosive: the two differ by the distinctive feature of voice

Derived forms of distinctive

  • distinctively, adverb
  • distinctiveness, 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