- The definition of distinctive is a quality or characteristic that is unique to a person or thing.
An example of something that would be described as distinctive is the colorful feathers of a peacock, which are unique to those birds.
Origin of distinctiveMiddle English ; from Medieval Latin distinctivus
- Serving to identify; distinguishing or characteristic: the distinctive call of the hermit thrush. See Usage Note at distinct.
- Distinguished or attractive: “Her forefinger tracked the cleft in his chin, and she thought how distinctive it made him look” (Joan Johnston).
- Linguistics Phonemically relevant and capable of conveying a difference in meaning, as nasalization in the initial sound of mat versus bat.
(comparative more distinctive, superlative most distinctive)