Definition of restrictive in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈstrɪktɪv/


1Imposing restrictions on someone’s activities or freedom: a web of restrictive regulations
More example sentences
  • Evidence of greater activity at a roadside cross may be a result of restrictive cemetery policy.
  • The restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 reflected the isolationism prevalent in America between the World Wars.
  • The modular plan, the most restrictive, offers employees a limited number of fixed benefit sets.
2 Grammar (Of a relative clause or descriptive phrase) serving to specify the particular instance or instances being mentioned.
Example sentences
  • The problem is that few people have followed these rules systematically, and you can find lots of examples where the relative pronoun which is used to start a restrictive clause.
  • The semantic distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive modification applies to adjectives that modify nouns as well as to relative clauses.


What is the difference between the books which were on the table once belonged to my aunt and the books, which were on the table, once belonged to my aunt? In the first sentence the speaker uses the relative clause to pick out a subset of books (the ones on the table) and imply a contrast with some other set of books. In the second sentence the size of the set of books referred to is unaffected by the relative clause; the speaker merely offers the additional information that they happen to be on the table.This distinction is between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. In writing, a non-restrictive relative clause is set off within commas, while in speech the difference is expressed by a difference in intonation. Ignorance of the distinction can lead to unintentionally comic effects: for example, strictly speaking, the relative clause in if you are in need of assistance, please ask any member of staff who will be pleased to help implies contrast with another set of staff who will not be pleased to help. A comma is needed before who.



Pronunciation: /rɪˈstrɪktɪvli/
Example sentences
  • The right to freedom of assembly is one of the foundations of a democratic society and should not be interpreted restrictively.
  • A study of the next page of his judgment shows that he did not intend the expression to be interpreted quite so restrictively.
  • She would have to let herself breathe, after three weeks of wearing a restrictively tight undershirt, giving her the appearance of a scrawny, underfed little boy.


Example sentences
  • Other researchers have measured the structural aspects of group homes, such as staff characteristics, staff effectiveness, restrictiveness, environmental factors, and cost-effectiveness.
  • However, important features of parenting, such as restrictiveness or psychological control, coerciveness, autonomy granting, and warmth, are not addressed.
  • The bill's opponents focused on its over-bearing restrictiveness which, they argued, would discourage marriage altogether, and prevent commoners from marrying into the aristocracy.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re¦strict|ive

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