adjective Date: 1723 1. serving to describe <
a descriptive account
2. a. referring to, constituting, or grounded in matters of observation or experience <
the descriptive basis of science
b. factually grounded or informative rather than normative, prescriptive, or emotive <
descriptive cultural studies
3. of a modifier a. expressing the quality, kind, or condition of what is denoted by the modified term <
hot in “hot water” is a descriptive adjective
b. nonrestrictive 4. of, relating to, or dealing with the structure of a language at a particular time usually with exclusion of historical and comparative data <
descriptive linguistics
descriptively adverbdescriptiveness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Descriptive — De*scrip tive, a. [L. descriptivus: cf. F. descriptif.] 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • descriptive — I adjective characterizing, circumstantial, classificatory, clear, definitional, definitive, delineative, designating, detailed, eloquent, explanatory, explicatory, expositive, expository, graphic, identifying, illuminating, illuminative,… …   Law dictionary

  • descriptive — [di skrip′tiv] adj. describing; of or characterized by description; specif., a) designating or of a branch of a science in which its data or materials are described and classified [descriptive anatomy] b) Gram. designating an adjective that… …   English World dictionary

  • descriptive — meaning …   Philosophy dictionary

  • descriptive — 1751, from L.L. descriptivus, from descript , pp. stem of describere (see DESCRIPTION (Cf. description)). Related: Descriptively; descriptiveness …   Etymology dictionary

  • descriptive — As applied to language, the term denotes a concept of grammar as describing actual practice rather than laying down theoretical rules. See prescriptive …   Modern English usage

  • descriptive — [adj] explanatory anecdotic, characteristic, characterizing, circumstantial, classificatory, clear, definitive, delineative, depictive, describing, designating, detailed, eloquent, explicative, expository, expressive, extended, graphic,… …   New thesaurus

  • descriptive — ► ADJECTIVE 1) serving or seeking to describe. 2) describing or classifying without expressing judgement. DERIVATIVES descriptively adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • descriptive — ● descriptif, descriptive adjectif (bas latin descriptivus) Qui a pour objet de décrire, qui donne les détails de quelque chose, d une opération : Devis descriptif. Qui s attache à décrire quelque chose pour produire un effet artistique, recréer… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • descriptive — adj. VERBS ▪ be ADVERB ▪ highly, very ▪ a highly descriptive account of her journey through Africa ▪ purely …   Collocations dictionary

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