de·​ci·​sive | \ di-ˈsī-siv How to pronounce decisive (audio) \

Definition of decisive

1 : having the power or quality of deciding The council president cast the decisive vote. a decisive battle
2 : resolute, determined a decisive manner decisive leaders a decisive editor
3 : unmistakable, unquestionable a decisive superiority

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Other Words from decisive

decisively adverb
decisiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for decisive

conclusive, decisive, determinative, definitive mean bringing to an end. conclusive applies to reasoning or logical proof that puts an end to debate or questioning. conclusive evidence decisive may apply to something that ends a controversy, a contest, or any uncertainty. a decisive battle determinative adds an implication of giving a fixed character or direction. the determinative factor in the court's decision definitive applies to what is put forth as final and permanent. the definitive biography

Examples of decisive in a Sentence

You must be decisive and persistent to succeed in this competitive field. I stood there wondering what to do, but my sister was more decisive and immediately went to the phone. The fight ended with a decisive blow. the decisive battle of the war The poverty of his childhood played a decisive role in his adult life. The meeting is seen as a decisive step toward a peace treaty.
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Recent Examples on the Web The vote as soon as next week is expected to be decisive, showing the power of Trump's reach, particularly on McCarthy. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, "In booting Cheney, 'My Kevin' leads GOP back to Trump," 7 May 2021 The vote as soon as next week is expected to be decisive, showing the power of Trump's reach, particularly on McCarthy. Lisa Mascaro, Star Tribune, "In booting Cheney, 'My Kevin' leads GOP back to Trump," 6 May 2021 Assuming the Ravens keep just four or five safeties, health and special teams ability will be decisive. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens roster projection: With draft over and Alejandro Villanueva signed, depth chart comes into focus," 5 May 2021 In interviews with several media outlets, Mitchell shared details about the experience of being a juror, the factors that proved to be decisive in Chauvin’s conviction and the impact that the trial had on him. Washington Post, "Photo of Chauvin juror wearing BLM T-shirt at march raises questions of impartiality, experts say," 4 May 2021 The prime minister has relied on ultra-Orthodox parties as allies, and this week is expected to be decisive for his efforts to form a coalition government. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Monday Sunrise Briefing: Leadership questions in India and Israel," 3 May 2021 The success of that engagement will be decisive for the millions of people who may, over the next few years, have to choose between a rapidly changing home, and an uncertain path away. Ciara Nugent, Time, "To Solve Disordered Migration, Governments Need to Think About Climate Change," 28 Apr. 2021 In a tight game, the Spurs’ plus-12 advantage from the charity stripe was decisive. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "The triple take: Spurs 110, Pelicans 108," 24 Apr. 2021 Smartphone videos were decisive in the Minneapolis morality play. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "The Jury’s Answer in the Derek Chauvin Trial," 21 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decisive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decisive

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for decisive

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The first known use of decisive was in 1584

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Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decisive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for decisive



English Language Learners Definition of decisive

: able to make choices quickly and confidently
: causing something to end in a particular way : determining what the result of something will be
: very clear and obvious


de·​ci·​sive | \ di-ˈsī-siv How to pronounce decisive (audio) \

Kids Definition of decisive

1 : causing something to end in a certain way The lawyer offered decisive proof.
2 : unmistakable, unquestionable a decisive victory
3 : firmly determined He began in a decisive manner.

Other Words from decisive

decisively adverb

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