[ ri-strik-tiv ]
See synonyms for restrictive on
  1. tending or serving to restrict.

  2. of the nature of a restriction.

  1. expressing or implying restriction or limitation of application, as terms, expressions, etc.

  2. Grammar. limiting the meaning of a modified element: a restrictive adjective.: Compare descriptive (def. 2b).

Origin of restrictive

1375–1425; late Middle English <Middle French restrictif<Latin restrict(us) (see restrict) + Middle French -if-ive

Other words from restrictive

  • re·stric·tive·ly, adverb
  • re·stric·tive·ness, noun
  • un·re·stric·tive, adjective
  • un·re·stric·tive·ly, adverb

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

How to use restrictive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for restrictive


/ (rɪˈstrɪktɪv) /

  1. restricting or tending to restrict

  2. grammar denoting a relative clause or phrase that restricts the number of possible referents of its antecedent. The relative clause in Americans who live in New York is restrictive; the relative clause in Americans, who are generally extrovert, is nonrestrictive

Derived forms of restrictive

  • restrictively, adverb
  • restrictiveness, 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