di·​vi·​sive | \ də-ˈvī-siv How to pronounce divisive (audio) also -ˈvi- How to pronounce divisive (audio) or -ziv\

Definition of divisive

: creating disunity or dissension a divisive issue divisive rhetoric

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Other Words from divisive

divisively adverb
divisiveness noun

Examples of divisive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Russian intelligence remained active after the election, launching a variety of new efforts meant to push various forms of propaganda including racially divisive rhetoric. Jason Abbruzzese, NBC News, "Conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer was planted by Russian intelligence, report finds," 9 July 2019 However, the new CBA failed to resolve many areas of grievance that continue to be the focal point of acrimonious court filings and divisive rhetoric. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "What Mediation Means for U.S. Soccer, USWNT in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit," 21 June 2019 The answer is Smithe, and thousands like him, Mexico City artists who don’t waste time thinking about walls and self-serving politics and divisive rhetoric. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "One of Mexico City’s trendsetters is bringing his art and music to Denver," 16 June 2019 In today’s tumultuous climate — in which our public spaces are saturated with divisive rhetoric and an ominous increase in hate crimes, and in which even our houses of worship are made to feel unsafe — women’s mosques forge a new path. Asma Uddin, Teen Vogue, "On Muslim Women's Day, Women-Only Mosques Are About Much More Than Prayer," 27 Mar. 2019 The labor violence, the divisive rhetoric, and the rise of the Populists of the... WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Political Division in Perspective," 27 Jan. 2019 Bolsonaro, whose divisive rhetoric has led many to compare him to President Donald Trump, is a 63-year-old former military officer who has served seven terms in Brazil’s congress. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Fake news is responsible for Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil," 29 Oct. 2018 The comments were predictably political, underscoring the deeply divisive immigration issue, in the spotlight with the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy. Dawn Gilbertson, azcentral, "Did a flight attendant see 16 migrant children on a flight from Phoenix to Miami?," 19 June 2018 The religious freedom issue has emerged as one of the most divisive in Australia. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Australian Rugby Star’s Anti-Gay Post Exposes Fault Lines Over Religious Freedom," 30 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divisive.' 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 divisive

1642, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for divisive

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for divisive

The first known use of divisive was in 1642

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More Definitions for divisive



English Language Learners Definition of divisive

formal : causing a lot of disagreement between people and causing them to separate into different groups

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More from Merriam-Webster on divisive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with divisive

Spanish Central: Translation of divisive

Nglish: Translation of divisive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of divisive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on divisive

What made you want to look up divisive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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