Definition of descriptive in English:

descriptive

adjective

  • 1Serving or seeking to describe.

    ‘the text contains some good descriptive passages’
    • ‘Most interesting to readers of Environmental History will be long, descriptive passages on the natural environment.’
    • ‘This book is primarily a descriptive work, seeking to provide detail about a specific historical missionary activity.’
    • ‘There were no flowery. descriptive passages: it was almost entirely a dialogue exchange between the girl and her brother.’
    • ‘One has the sense of an actual, as opposed to a fictional, narrator forced to convey a plethora of background information about his characters, at the expense of descriptive detail and incident.’
    • ‘Indeed, the book is replete with descriptive detail.’
    • ‘With brief yet descriptive passages moving quickly from one scene to another, he conveys a sustained air of urgency.’
    • ‘James, who has just returned to school as a Year 10 pupil, chose to write the descriptive passage as a homework task for English.’
    • ‘The tale is more realistic, the characters deeper and troubled and the descriptive passages delightful.’
    • ‘A particularly concise and elegant passage of descriptive work comes from a fellow essayist.’
    • ‘The descriptive passages when she has tea with friends, or tends her garden, or shops for blouses to fit her ample bosom are a pleasure and add a completeness to the character.’
    • ‘I didn't find the plot particularly gripping, but the level of period detail in the book's descriptive passages was excellent.’
    • ‘His descriptive letters painted a picture of life in Tasmania for readers back in England.’
    • ‘The prose is workmanlike but plain; the author makes no attempt to spice it up with colorful quotations, amusing anecdotes, or passages of descriptive writing.’
    • ‘One of the strengths of this book lies in the descriptive passages.’
    • ‘The descriptive passages make the reader feel as if he or she is actually present.’
    • ‘The woodland is seen through poetry, descriptive text and a mosaic of pictures.’
    • ‘His descriptive passages are often a rhapsodic rush to the edge of sentimentality, only undercut in the final moment by a shift in tone.’
    • ‘The beautiful pictures and descriptive commentary showed what a fine country Zimbabwe is.’
    • ‘This is a handbook, with many tables and lengthy descriptive passages.’
    • ‘Some of his descriptive passages are composed with great power and elegance.’
    illustrative, expressive, pictorial, depictive, graphic, picturesque, vivid, striking
    explanatory, elucidatory, explicative, exegetic, expository
    detailed, lively, circumstantial
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Grammar
      (of an adjective) assigning a quality rather than restricting the application of the expression modified, e.g. blue as distinct from few.
      • ‘As the number of negative descriptive adjectives increased, so did the youths' self-reported involvement in delinquency.’
      • ‘As stated earlier, the present study utilizes a semantic differential scale which was comprised of six contrasting descriptive adjectives.’
      • ‘Sometimes the descriptive noun phrase has already been used in a previous clause, and to avoid repetition, the anaphor such is substituted.’
      • ‘‘Vibrant’ is actually one of the rare descriptive adjectives which I have never turned into an adverb.’
      • ‘Freud recognized that the term ‘unconscious’ was better used as a descriptive adjective rather than as a topographical noun.’
  • 2Describing or classifying in an objective and non-judgemental way.

    • ‘The bulk of the volume consists of descriptive and interpretive catalogue entries for each mask.’
    • ‘Despite these limitations, descriptive studies, interpreted with suitable caution, can offer some useful insight to complement the data from studies using randomisation.’
    • ‘Even when intended to serve merely as descriptive terms of classification, the terms carry much historical and ideological baggage that bears on human rights concerns.’
    • ‘The study was classified as a descriptive study.’
    • ‘One descriptive study evaluated the preparation, emotions, and experiences of parents during their child's anesthesia induction.’
    • ‘Survey questions were initially evaluated using simple descriptive statistics.’
    • ‘What becomes clear is that ‘there are no descriptive facts without interpretive theory’.’
    • ‘This descriptive study sought to develop a profile of women in the agricultural and extension education at the post-secondary level.’
    • ‘These techniques are referred to as object oriented because they focus on modeling real-world objects, including both descriptive data and behavior.’
    • ‘Facts (the objective) are descriptive, where events (the exemplary) partake in a process.’
    • ‘The qualifying examinations were never objective, but descriptive.’
    • ‘The purpose of this descriptive study was to evaluate nurses' acceptance and use of an IV catheter safety needle designed to reduce injuries.’
    • ‘Classical, descriptive paleontology is very good at dealing with this sort of pattern.’
    • ‘It serves a descriptive and classificatory purpose only.’
    • ‘The incidence, location, and type of injury, time loss caused by injury, and onset of injury were evaluated by using descriptive statistics.’
    • ‘The medical record, as a legal document, must contain factual, objective, descriptive data.’
    • ‘All good objects will have descriptive and administrative metadata.’
    • ‘As indicated above, we view this range as descriptive, not evaluative.’
    • ‘Most of the book is objectively descriptive, be the focus spiritual or scientific.’
    • ‘Each portrait includes a descriptive evaluation of each space and a precis of its legal requirements, accompanied by a photograph and a scaled schematic site plan.’
    explaining, describing, illustrative, illuminative, elucidative, elucidatory, explicative, evaluative, interpretive, expository, revelatory, by way of explanation
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Linguistics
      Denoting or relating to an approach to language analysis that describes accents, forms, structures, and usage without making value judgements.
      Often contrasted with prescriptive
      • ‘There's definitely such a thing as a syntactic error, even in your native language, even as judged by descriptive linguists.’
      • ‘There have been a number of 20c scholarly grammars of English characterized by a decidedly descriptive approach and a focus on syntax.’
      • ‘He seems, first of all, to misunderstand that dictionaries of the English language are descriptive, not prescriptive.’
      • ‘Such an analytic and descriptive approach has many advantages.’
      • ‘The main argument concerns the relationship between syntactic, textual, and ideological analysis, and the descriptive methods required in text analysis.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: from late Latin descriptivus, from descript- written down, from the verb describere (see describe).

Pronunciation:

descriptive

/dɪˈskrɪptɪv/