di·​vi·​sive | \ də-ˈvī-siv also -ˈvi- 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

There is, however, one statistic that is less divisive: 69 percent of Americans like their pie topped. Vogue, "And America’s Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Is….," 21 Nov. 2018 The entire confrontation was incredibly powerful, heated, and indicative of just how divisive this vote will be. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Two Survivors Confronted Jeff Flake in an Elevator With Their Stories of Assault," 28 Sep. 2018 This is another reason why impeaching Mr Trump might be even more divisive than the impeachment of Mr Clinton was. The Economist, "The case against impeachment," 12 July 2018 Representative Haskell read a letter from a National Academy scientist, which submitted that the Academy debate was actually far more divisive than the one dissenting vote might indicate. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Congressional minority leaders Nancy Pelosi of California and Chuck Schumer of New York are among those who’ve aired their displeasure with calls for impeachment, arguing that such talk is divisive and premature. Max Abelson, Bloomberg.com, "Call Him Mr. Impeachment: Tom Steyer’s War Against Donald Trump," 25 Apr. 2018 But that would be highly divisive for South Koreans, who distrust Pyongyang while also being wary of U.S. escalation given their vulnerability. Time, "What Kim Jong Un Really Wants From President Trump," 29 Mar. 2018 The divisive trend only got 25 percent of your votes; the other 75 percent of you would rather wear a miniskirt. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Most Popular Street Style Trends of 2018, According to You, Our Followers," 20 Dec. 2018 As previous reports have detailed, the IRA has tied itself to American political movements and encouraged supporters to unwittingly spread divisive propaganda. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Russian election meddlers started an anti-masturbation hotline, report claims," 17 Dec. 2018

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

16 Jan 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

: 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).


to gather or build up little by little

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