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Definition of "distinctive" []

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

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • 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 (adjective)

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