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def·i·nite (dĕfə-nĭt)
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adj.
1.
a. Clearly defined; explicitly precise: a definite statement of the terms of the will. See Synonyms at explicit.
b. Forthright and unambiguous: The doctor was very definite about what foods you should avoid.
2. Clearly developed or firmly decided: no definite idea of what to do for a career.
3. Readily distinguished or certain: at a definite disadvantage.
4. Grammar Limiting or particularizing.
5. Botany
a. Of a fixed number usually less than 20, as certain floral organs, especially stamens.
b. Cymose; determinate.

[Middle English diffinite, defined, from Latin dēfīnītus, past participle of dēfīnīre, to define; see DEFINE.]

defi·nite·ly adv.
defi·nite·ness n.

Usage Note: Definite and definitive both apply to what is precisely defined or explicitly set forth. But definitive most often refers specifically to a judgment or description that serves as a standard or reference point for others, as in the definitive decision of the court (which sets forth a final resolution of a judicial matter) or the definitive biography of Nelson (that is, the biography that sets the standard against which all other accounts of Nelson's life must be measured).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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