Definition of distributive in US English:



  • 1Concerned with the supply of goods to stores and other businesses that sell to consumers.

    ‘transportation and distributive industries’
    • ‘One of the main reasons for the emergence of protectionism can be found in the distributive consequences of trade.’
    • ‘Similarly, in the retail and distributive sector both large and small establishments drew their employees disproportionately from outside the city.’
    • ‘The CSO said the reason for this dramatic drop in trade was a change in the pattern of distributive type trade with Britain.’
    • ‘That guarantees a steady supply of financial and distributive muscle from their studio partners, and help with the marketing push come release day.’
    • ‘Liquid fuels' pricing is not cartelised, despite the existence of large distributive chains in Bulgaria.’
    • ‘At the distributive level, they compete with office supply distribution networks that supply big companies.’
    • ‘Approximately two million people worked in the retail and distributive trades.’
    • ‘Banking, finance and insurance have also been hit with nearly 3000 job losses and the distributive trade has also been badly affected with 2720 job losses.’
    • ‘Heath adds that the rent of land ‘is a voluntary recompense for distributive services.’’
    • ‘The second is that pharmacist involvement in the distributive aspects of pharmacy practice is downplayed in professional curricula.’
    • ‘Retailing and the distributive trades, hospitals, and other care institutions added to career opportunities for women.’
    • ‘Sales increased for 37% of retailers taking part in the CBI's distributive trades survey, while 26% reported a fall in sales during the month.’
    • ‘Price maintenance was considered to be a significant impediment to the development of an efficient and competitive distributive industry.’
    • ‘Or, any interventionist component quickly becomes recommodified and rechanneled down one of global capitalism's many distributive streams.’
    • ‘FLS Automation is supplying a distributive control system with Robolab equipment.’
    • ‘The Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey released last week leaves no doubt about the mood of British consumers.’
    1. 1.1 Concerned with the way in which things are shared between people.
      ‘the distributive effects of public expenditure’
      ‘distributive justice’
      • ‘His analysis fixed all ‘instruments,’ or resources, and illustrated that the distributive shares were determined in a differential fashion.’
      • ‘The legislative branch dominates this distributive type of policy, especially the standing committees with programmatic jurisdiction.’
      • ‘Consequently, the ability to share information quickly in a collaborative and distributive manner will ultimately change how leaders plan and execute military missions.’
      • ‘A final point concerns my proclivity in this essay to reach for South African examples to illuminate distributive politics in the United States.’
      • ‘The first is the repeated reminder not to fetishize distributive questions that arise in a genetic context.’
      • ‘A distributive logic entails essentially noncooperative bargaining, a focus on the winlose distribution of a fixed pool of resources.’
      • ‘The most important distributive mechanism for improving the lot of low-income Australians is to improve their disposable income.’
      • ‘This result is due in part to the distributive effects of the rise in the unemployment rate.’
      • ‘For Saunders the only distributive principle with enough public support is the principle of reward according to merit.’
      • ‘No society is governed by a single set of distributive rules.’
      • ‘This concerns the relationship between the balance of power and the distributive peace.’
      • ‘Poetry naturally takes to the distributive forms of the web (unlike painting which still has to be seen in person to be fully experienced).’
      • ‘This is a classical case of distributive injustice!’
      • ‘Usually, government policy reflects distributive considerations as well as efficiency consequences.’
      • ‘But this seldom happens, because the market is widely believed to be a fair distributive instrument.’
      • ‘The FSB described the new distributive tax as an unfair U - turn, designed to balance the British treasury's books.’
      • ‘It will examine the structure and distributive effects of the Australian taxation system.’
      • ‘It was one of the largest distributive exercises in U.S. history.’
      • ‘The ESRI recently published a study on the distributive impact of government budgets over the last 20 years.’
      • ‘People seek more balanced diets even as hunger lurks for lack of purchasing power and distributive shortcomings.’
  • 2Grammar
    (of a determiner or pronoun) referring to each individual of a class, not to the class collectively, e.g. each, either.

  • 3Mathematics
    (of an operation) fulfilling the condition that, when it is performed on two or more quantities already combined by another operation, the result is the same as when it is performed on each quantity individually and the products then combined.

    • ‘In math, people usually talk about the distributive property of one operation over another.’
    • ‘This works because of the distributive property.’
    • ‘We can use the distributive property to add up the numbers.’
    • ‘The most common distributive property is the distribution of multiplication over addition.’
    • ‘Foil, First-Outer-Inner-Last, refers to the distributive property for multiplying two binomials.’


  • A distributive word.


Late Middle English: from Old French distributif, -ive or late Latin distributivus, from Latin distribut- ‘divided up’, from the verb distribuere (see distribute).