mid-15c., "spending or contributing freely," from Old French distributif and directly from Late Latin distributivus, from Latin distribut-, past-participle stem of distribuere "to divide, deal out in portions" (see distribute). Meaning "that distributes" is from 1510s. In logic, "showing that a statement refers to each individual of a class separately," 1725 (opposed to collective). Related: Distributively.
updated on September 08, 2018