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[ri-strik-tiv] /rɪˈstrɪk tɪv/
tending or serving to restrict.
of the nature of a restriction.
expressing or implying restriction or limitation of application, as terms, expressions, etc.
Grammar. limiting the meaning of a modified element:
a restrictive adjective.
Compare descriptive (def 2b).
Origin of restrictive
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Middle French restrictif < Latin restrict(us) (see restrict) + Middle French -if -ive
Related forms
restrictively, adverb
restrictiveness, noun
unrestrictive, adjective
unrestrictively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for restrictive
  • restrictive laws in certain jurisdictions sometimes prompt their ineligibility.
  • In the end, the number of options is remarkably restrictive.
  • It remains to be seen how much control users will have over their portable devices, which are currently far more restrictive.
  • But maps from these providers are extremely restrictive in how they can be used.
  • The shoe's upper wrapped snugly around my feet, but was stretchy enough to feel supportive rather than restrictive.
  • Some science and medical journal editors avoid publishing research findings that could draw lawsuits under restrictive libel laws.
  • The prices of some crops, such as sugar, are kept high by restrictive tariffs.
  • The licenses attempt to overcome the inherently restrictive nature of copyright law.
  • One group ate a restrictive, low-protein diet whereas the other dined on protein-rich foods.
  • The restrictive tactics have enabled publishers to squeeze more dollars from their subscribers.
British Dictionary definitions for restrictive


restricting or tending to restrict
(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
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
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Word Origin and History for restrictive

early 15c., "serving to bind or draw together," from Middle French restrictif, from Late Latin restrictivus, from Latin restrict-, past participle stem of restringere (see restriction). Meaning "imposing restriction" is from 1570s. Related: Restrictively; restrictiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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