Definite and Definitive

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between definite and definitive?

Definite means known for certain.
Definitive means conclusive.

Definite and Definitive

Writers sometimes confuse definite and definitive because their meanings are close and they look similar. However, there is a clear distinction between the two words.

Definite

The adjective definite means known for certain or precise.

Examples:
  • Is it definite that the plane has left?
  • I can't make sense of your invoices. I need to know the definite amount.

Definitive

The adjective definitive means conclusive or authoritative

Examples:
  • This is the definitive paper on the company's holdings.
  • Was that the judge's definitive verdict?

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What are verbs? List of easily confused words