dis·​cur·​sive | \ di-ˈskər-siv How to pronounce discursive (audio) \

Definition of discursive

1a : moving from topic to topic without order : rambling gave a discursive lecture discursive prose
b : proceeding coherently from topic to topic
2 philosophy : marked by a method of resolving complex expressions into simpler or more basic ones : marked by analytical reasoning
3 : of or relating to discourse discursive practices

Other Words from discursive

discursively adverb
discursiveness noun

Did you know?

The Latin verb discurrere meant "to run about", and from this word we get our word discursive, which often means rambling about over a wide range of topics. A discursive writing style generally isn't encouraged by writing teachers. But some of the great 19th-century writers, such as Charles Lamb and Thomas de Quincey, show that the discursive essay, especially when gracefully written and somewhat personal in tone, can be a pleasure to read. And the man often called the inventor of the essay, the great Michel de Montaigne, might touch on dozens of different topics in the course of a long discursive essay.

Examples of discursive in a Sentence

the speaker's discursive style made it difficult to understand his point
Recent Examples on the Web In conjunction with the opening week of the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte di Venezia, tomorrow will start the African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF), a public and free discursive event presented every other year in Venice. Vogue, 19 Apr. 2022 It’s certainly true that this short book contains many of his trademarks: discursive and periodic sentences, arcane jargon, endless self-analysis. Jonathan Russell Clark, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Farrar, Straus & Giroux), demonstrates that, regardless of whether Handke labels a work fiction or nonfiction, his technique remains much the same—the tone discursive, the narratives eddying and associative, the point of view inward and subjective. Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2022 The second half of the book is a non-linear, eclectic romp through the early history of technology, and readers will have to surrender to Mr. Smith’s often-discursive writing style. Christine Rosen, WSJ, 14 Mar. 2022 Pat Hackett, who edited his discursive journals, and Bob Colacello, a key contributor at Interview. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Mar. 2022 Dumont takes plenty of amusing if discursive time for minor characters’ expressions of fawning, or rich-liberal smugness. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 21 Jan. 2022 An entertaining and discursive journey into Dante’s life and work. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Lattimore went on to record an album of discursive duets with her neighbor in Los Angeles, the fellow Philadelphia expatriate Paul Sukeena, and two luminous drones with the instrumental duo Growing. New York Times, 26 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of discursive

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for discursive

borrowed from Medieval Latin discursīvus "showing reasoned thought, logical," from discursus, past participle of discurrere "to range over, discuss" (going back to Latin, "to run off in different directions, [of a mind or speaker] branch out, range") + Latin -īvus -ive — more at discourse entry 1

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The first known use of discursive was in 1595

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discursive reason

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discursive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discursive. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on discursive

Nglish: Translation of discursive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discursive for Arabic Speakers


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