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

Immigration is a divisive issue in Britain, and reducing the number of newcomers was a major factor for many who voted in 2016 to leave the European Union. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "UK says EU immigrants won’t get priority after Brexit," 2 Oct. 2018 The breakthrough came after days of uncertainty, with EU countries either reluctant to act on the divisive migrant issue or determined to halt the migrant flow. Fox News, "5 EU countries reach deal to end limbo of rescued migrants," 25 Sep. 2018 According to nearly final results by the state electoral commission, turnout was 54.6 percent, a historic high in local elections since Poland threw off communism in 1989, suggesting many have been mobilized in these divisive times. Vanessa Gera, The Seattle Times, "Poland’s ruling populists see power, appeal checked," 22 Oct. 2018 The keyboard The butterfly keyboard design Apple introduced in 2016 has been divisive. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Pros are now available, and the top specs are much faster," 12 July 2018 The topic is divisive among the party’s rank and file. The Economist, "A culture war comes to Westminster," 5 July 2018 Supervisor Malia Cohen was unanimously elected president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday, taking the helm of the city’s legislative branch at a particularly divisive time in city politics. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "SF supervisors elect Malia Cohen their president as Breed moves to mayor," 26 June 2018 The center appears to be increasing in relevance in these divisive racial and cultural times. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "Financially stronger Freedom Center welcomes new president Dion Brown," 5 Mar. 2018 Brazil’s Bolsonaro, an even more divisive figure than Donald Trump, dedicated his vote in favor of impeaching former president Dilma Rousseff to the colonel who was responsible for her torture under the country’s military dictatorship. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Brazil’s Bolsonaro Is 2018’s Biggest Winner," 7 Jan. 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

23 Apr 2019

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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

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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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