What does descriptive mean?

Definitions for descriptive
dɪˈskrɪp tɪvde·scrip·tive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word descriptive.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. descriptiveadjective

    serving to describe or inform or characterized by description

    "the descriptive variable"; "a descriptive passage"

  2. descriptiveadjective

    describing the structure of a language

    "descriptive grammar"


  1. descriptivenoun

    An adjective (or other descriptive word)

  2. descriptiveadjective

    Of, or relating to description.

  3. descriptiveadjective

    Of an adjective, stating an attribute of the associated noun (as heavy in the heavy dictionary).

  4. descriptiveadjective

    Describing the structure, grammar, vocabulary and actual use of a language.

  5. descriptiveadjective

    Describing and seeking to classify, as opposed to normative or prescriptive.

  6. Etymology: From descriptivus


  1. descriptive

    In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language is actually used (or how it was used in the past) by a speech community.All academic research in linguistics is descriptive; like all other scientific disciplines, it seeks to describe reality, without the bias of preconceived ideas about how it ought to be. Modern descriptive linguistics is based on a structural approach to language, as exemplified in the work of Leonard Bloomfield and others. This type of linguistics utilizes different methods in order to describe a language such as basic data collection, and different types of elicitation methods.


  1. descriptive

    Descriptive refers to the act of giving an account or presenting a detailed observation and representation of a subject or entity, including its features, characteristics, functions and other particulars. This can apply to a wide range of fields such as literature, statistics, research, etc. It's typically used to create a vivid or accurate impression or provide an in-depth understanding of the subject in question.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Descriptiveadjective

    tending to describe; having the quality of representing; containing description; as, a descriptive figure; a descriptive phrase; a descriptive narration; a story descriptive of the age

  2. Etymology: [L. descriptivus: cf. F. descriptif.]

Editors Contribution

  1. descriptive

    The use of language to describe.

    The article was descriptive and accurate to describe the definition.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 19, 2020  

How to pronounce descriptive?

How to say descriptive in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of descriptive in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of descriptive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of descriptive in a Sentence

  1. Daniel Cameron:

    Today, the published literature is very descriptive on all the problems that happen. It’s just that doctors are divided and it’s not clear why there’s disagreement on something that’s so common.

  2. Harry Harris/AP:

    It’s the thing the mainstream fears the most, it’s a beautiful speech and it’s descriptive of integration. It sounds really good. And then you understand – whew – the work that’s required.

  3. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:

    My staff has always said, 'Don't say this,' but I'm going to say it again because it's so descriptive because it's true, in the summertime, because [of] the high humidity and how hot it gets here, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol.

  4. Tracey Lomax:

    No one knows what it’s like to get a descriptive, detailed way of how someone you love died, a lot of people don’t get a description of how someone died in hospital. But for us, it was in the news every day. It was very hard to read. But it was unavoidable.

  5. Elissa Weitzman:

    Social media data could provide descriptive information about health histories and behaviors that are helpful for building out the ` digital health phenotype ’ for patients, in a perfect, creative and well worked through digitally enabled world, real-time mining of social media content could be revealing allergies, medications or health problems that are otherwise unknown which could alter treatment decisions in an emergency situation and be life-saving.

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Translations for descriptive

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"descriptive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/descriptive>.

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    the act of passing from one state or place to the next
    A perusal
    B mediocrity
    C rapture
    D transition

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