Adjective "retentive" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


(of a person's memory) effective in retaining facts and impressions.
  1. 'For Barthes, film animates the photograph, which for him is distensive and retentive, and draws the photograph forth into protensiveness.'
  2. 'The book is packed with little gems of wit and wisdom which often have nothing to do with English usage, but which disclose an extraordinarily lively and retentive intelligence, and make the book a pleasure to read.'
  3. 'Anything material can be destroyed, but thought is retentive and has accumulated throughout Time.'
  4. 'Giacometti had an exceptionally powerful and retentive visual memory, and his biographer attested to frequent instances of recollections decades old.'
  5. 'His retentive memory for dates was going to prove a great asset in his later career.'
(of a substance) able to absorb and hold moisture.
  1. 'Soils tend to be high in acid with a predominance of clay (25 per cent and more), low in pH, but well drained and moisture retentive.'
  2. 'Most children with encopresis have retentive encopresis, meaning that the soiling or seepage results because soft or liquid stool is leaking around firmer stool trapped in the colon.'


1. tending or serving to retain something.

2. having power or capacity to retain.

3. having power or ability to remember; having a good memory.

More examples(as adjective)

"memories can be retentive."

"males can be retentive."

"cavities can be retentive."

"behaviours can be retentive."


Late Middle English: from Old French retentif, -ive or medieval Latin retentivus, from retent- ‘held back’, from the verb retinere (see retain).