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[dih-fin-i-tiv] /dɪˈfɪn ɪ tɪv/
most reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study, or the like:
the definitive biography of Andrew Jackson.
serving to define, fix, or specify definitely:
to clarify with a definitive statement.
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.
Biology. fully developed or formed; complete.
a defining or limiting word, as an article, a demonstrative, or the like.
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
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French < Latin dēfīnītīvus, equivalent to dēfīnīt(us) (see definite) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
definitively, adverb
definitiveness, noun
nondefinitive, adjective
nondefinitively, adverb
nondefinitiveness, noun
undefinitive, adjective
undefinitively, adverb
undefinitiveness, noun
Can be confused
definite, definitive.
3. complete, absolute, ultimate, supreme. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for definitively
  • But no such catastrophe has been definitively linked to the shortage.
  • With a question that could never be answered definitively, that seems as good a response as any.
  • But there is nothing in the video that definitively conveys that, to an amateur eye.
  • He looks down at the shark and quickly, definitively, picks the shark up by the tail and hurls it back into the water-done.
  • But few studies have definitively linked oxidative damage to altered cellular function.
  • One can't definitively establish the existence of missing heat but cannot rule it our either.
  • The brain capacity question likely has no definitively quantifiable solution.
  • But correlation is not causation, and diagnosis is definitively not cause.
  • The reality is that until medical science can tell us what causes autism, they can't definitively say what doesn't cause it.
  • It would be foolish to expect the debate to be resolved definitively.
British Dictionary definitions for definitively


serving to decide or settle finally; conclusive
most reliable, complete, or authoritative: the definitive reading of a text
serving to define or outline
(zoology) fully developed; complete: the definitive form of a parasite
  1. (of postage stamps) permanently on sale
  2. (as noun) a definitive postage stamp
(grammar) a word indicating specificity of reference, such as the definite article or a demonstrative adjective or pronoun
Derived Forms
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
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Word Origin and History for definitively



late 14c., from Old French definitif (12c.), from Latin definitivus "explanatory, definitive," from past participle stem of definire (see define). Related: Definitively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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