Definite vs definitive

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Definite means unambiguous, certain, precisely defined, clear, undeniable, known for certain. Definite also means having exact boundaries or limits. Definite comes from the Latin word definitus, which means limited, defined, with boundaries. Definite is an adjective, related words are definitely and definiteness.

Definitive means a final or ultimate conclusion, a final or ultimate agreement, the most authoritative, something that is conclusive. The word definitive differs from the word definite in that definitive means the most complete or authoritative, if something is definitive then nothing is capable of surpassing it. Definitive is derived from the Latin word definitivus which means explanatory, set within limits. Definitive is also an adjective, related words are definitively and definitiveness.


“The downside is definite and the upside is speculative,” Noonan told parliament as the United Kingdom voted on Thursday, referring to the potential upside that some companies keen to stay in the EU might move from Britain to Ireland. (The Daily Mail)

Virat Kohli-Anushka Sharma: Definite proof they’re a couple again (The Hindustan Times)

His star item this year is “the Hinton House Elephant Table” (note his dignifying use of the definite article), a George II parcel gilt side table with Egyptian porphyry top from about 1735. (Newsweek Magazine)

“This is a procedural setback, but this is not definitive,” Castro said Thursday night in response to a court ruling that failed to revive Obama’s stalled plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them the right to work legally in the United States. (The Washington Post)

There’s a depressing reason why there is so little definitive scientific research on guns (The Business Insider)

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is working quickly to figure out who perpetrated the cyber heist of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February, but there are no definitive answers yet, an FBI official said on Thursday. (The Times of India)