Origin of distinctiveMiddle English from Medieval Latin distinctivus
An example of something that would be described as distinctive is the colorful feathers of a peacock, which are unique to those birds.
- 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)
From Old French distinctif, from Latin distinctivus
- In these works his distinctive qualities were already revealed.
- The skull of the driver bore the distinctive damage Howie had received in his earlier accident.
- Grant that the distinctive mark of our Order may be never to possess anything as its own under the sun for the glory of Thy name, and to have no other patrimony than begging" (in the Legenda 3 Soc.).
- Helen Keller became so rapidly a distinctive personality that she kept her teacher in a breathless race to meet the needs of her pupil, with no time or strength to make a scientific study.
- The distinctive feature of the Spanish-Jewish culture was its comprehensiveness.