from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Serving to identify; distinguishing: distinctive tribal tattoos. See Usage Note at distinct.
  • adj. Characteristic or typical: "Jerusalem has a distinctive Middle East flavor” ( Curtis Wilkie).
  • adj. Linguistics Phonemically relevant and capable of conveying a difference in meaning, as nasalization in the initial sound of mat versus bat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. that serves to distinguish between things
  • adj. that is characteristic or typical of something

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Marking or expressing distinction or difference; distinguishing; characteristic; peculiar.
  • adj. Having the power to distinguish and discern; discriminating.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Marking distinction, difference, or peculiarity; distinguishing from something diverse; characteristic: as, distinctive names or titles; the distinctive characteristics of a species.
  • Having the power to distinguish and discern; discerning.
  • n. A distinctive mark; specifically, in Hebrew grammar, a distinctive accent. There are 26 of these — 18 disjunctive and 8 conjunctive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. capable of being classified
  • adj. of a feature that helps to distinguish a person or thing


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The next, a more reasoning and original tone of thought as respects our own distinctive principles and _distinctive situation_, with a total indifference to the theories that have been broached to sustain an alien and an antagonist system, in

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  • In the endeavor to make his title distinctive and attractive the novice is liable to fall into the error of making it cheap and sensational.

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  • St. Paul takes over the Septuagint translation of Jahweh ho kyrios, and makes this title distinctive of Jesus.

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  • We do what I call distinctive content with a twist.

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  • The leader in distinctive eyewear, beautifully displayed.

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  • And a lot of the things I find weird when I visit Quebec are common to other Canadian provinces (e.g. the alcohol monopoly), as are the things that make it distinctive from the US (greater paid leave from work, universal healthcare, etc.).

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  • The main distinctive feature of this snowmobile is a big wheel instead of a regular for such kind of transport rubber heavy caterpillar made of metal and rubber.

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  • "Psychological realism" in the modern novel provides us access to "the Mind," which apparently many critics think is a very profound thing to do and makes the novel distinctive from the other forms of narrative art that have arisen to challenge the novel's hegemony.

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  • The dependence of significant technique upon the need for expressing certain distinctive modes of experience is testified to by the three stages that usually attend the appearance of a new technique.

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  • Torrance underestimates the extent to which both of these writers regarded fiction first of all as an aesthetic form to be "shaped" in distinctive ways.

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