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

Other issues with progressive backing could be even more divisive in a fall campaign. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Is Orange County fertile ground for the left? California Dems are counting on it," 11 June 2018 The issue has always been divisive, but only more so since President Donald Trump has ripped players who have, accusing them of disrespecting the flag. Adam H. Beasley, miamiherald, "The NFL forbade players from kneeling during the anthem; Kenny Stills still might," 31 May 2018 Community activists and some city officials have called for changes to the merit board, while others, including Rick Snyder, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, have said the attacks on panel are divisive. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Vop Osili pauses plan to reshape the merit board after Aaron Bailey decision," 21 May 2018 When our self-interest and the greater good are not perfectly aligned, the competing loyalties may be painfully divisive. Philip Brandes, latimes.com, "The 99-Seat Beat: Dorothy Parker, plus Ayad Akhtar times two," 13 Apr. 2018 Especially in today’s world, when there are so many divisive messages, the timing could not be more important or better celebrated. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "Alexander Wang and Trojan Want You to Protect Your Wang," 18 June 2018 But Shine’s hiring is turning out to be divisive among the people who know him best. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Has Sean Hannity alienated Fox News management?," 11 July 2018 While the expulsion of Weinstein and Cosby were expected, Polanski’s case has long been more divisive in Hollywood. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "Seigner, Polanski’s wife, refuses film academy invitation," 9 July 2018 More recently, national anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick and other athletes have been framed by critics as divisive and unpatriotic. Crystal Marie Fleming, Vox, "Maxine Waters and the trope of the “angry black woman”," 29 June 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

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for divisive

The first known use of divisive was in 1642

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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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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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