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.

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


The adjective definitive means conclusive or authoritative

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

A Quick Test

Definitely Not Definate

There is no such word as definate, which is a very common misspelling of definite. Definately does not exist either.