Definite or Definitive?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Definite" and "Definitive"?

"Definite" and "definitive" are easy to confuse because the words look and sound so similar.
  • Definite. "Definite" means "known for certain" or "precise." For example:
    • This is not fool's gold. It is definite gold. correct tick
    • (The adverb form "definitely" is more common than the adjective form "definite.")
    • We have definitely found gold. correct tick
  • Definitive. "Definitive" means "conclusive" or "authoritative." For example:
    • This is the definitive diagnosis from the panel of specialists. correct tick
definite or definitive?

More about "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.


The adjective "definite" means "known for certain" or "precise."

Example sentences with "definite":
  • Is it definite that the plane has left? correct tick
  • I can't make sense of your invoices. I need to know the definite amount. correct tick
  • I had a natural aptitude for wanting to be the centre of attention and a definite skill for annoying people. correct tick(Illusionist Derren Brown)


The adjective "definitive" means "conclusive" or "authoritative."

Example sentences with "definitive":
  • This is the definitive paper on the company's holdings. correct tick
  • Was that the judge's definitive verdict? correct tick
  • A writer's definitive death is when no one reads his books anymore. That's the final death. correct tick (Writer Jose Saramago)

Definitely Not "Definate"

There is no such word as "definate" (with an "a"), which is a common misspelling of "definite." "Definately" does not exist either.

Ready for the Test?

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.