Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


a. Of, relating to, or involving distribution.
b. Serving to distribute.
2. Mathematics Of or relating to a property involving two binary operations, usually multiplication and addition, in which the product of an element with a sum of terms is equal to the sum of the individual products of that element with each term. That is, if a × (b + c) = a × b + a × c, then the operation indicated by × is distributive over the operation indicated by +.
3. Grammar Referring to each individual or entity of a group separately rather than collectively, as every in the sentence Every employee attended the meeting.
A distributive word or term.

dis·trib′u·tive·ly adv.
dis·trib′u·tive·ness n.