incisive

adjective
in·​ci·​sive | \ in-ˈsī-siv How to pronounce incisive (audio) \

Definition of incisive

: impressively direct and decisive (as in manner or presentation) an incisive analysis an incisive unsentimental writer

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Other Words from incisive

incisively adverb
incisiveness noun

Did You Know?

Incisive has meant "impressively direct and decisive" since around 1834 and derives from the Latin verb caedere, meaning "to cut." Its linguistic kin include many cuttings from the fruitful stem caedere, such as scissors, chisel, incise ("to cut into or engrave"), excise ("to remove by cutting"), incisor ("a front tooth typically adapted for cutting"), incision ("cut" or "gash"), precise ("minutely exact"), and concise ("brief"). Incisive also carries a couple of lesser-known literal meanings relating to cutting: "having a cutting edge or piercing point" (as in "incisive fangs"), and, in dentistry, "of, relating to, or situated near the incisors."

Examples of incisive in a Sentence

She's known for her incisive mind and quick wit.

Recent Examples on the Web

Given the setup of these characters and their positions in society, there is ample room for some incisive class commentary, and while there are some minor attempts, Freundlich is far too seduced by the packaging. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: The joy of friendship in ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’," 9 Aug. 2019 Known for her inventive camera and editing techniques, incisive cultural commentary and excellent humor, she was quickly named the head of production at Gaumont. Katie Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Be Natural’ sheds light on the first female film director," 18 July 2019 Arriola and Tyler Boyd, who recently transferred his international allegiance from New Zealand and was capped for the second time on Tuesday, were the mobile, incisive and decisive antidotes to the game’s languid pace. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Wingers Do the Work for USA in Gold Cup-Opening Win Over Guyana," 19 June 2019 Openers Car Seat Headrest owe more than a small debt to Death Cab’s influence, with muscular riffs and incisive songwriting. Andrea Domanick, Los Angeles Times, "Best live music around L.A.: Carly Rae Jepsen, a mammoth hip-hop festival and more," 6 Aug. 2019 The taut, focused staging matched the incisive musical direction from harpsichordist Nicholas Kok, leader of the eight-member period instrument band that played from the rear corners of the set, and the excellent diction of the singers. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Review: Wrenching Drama and Vicious Satire," 25 June 2019 Harris has already built a name for herself as a fierce public speaker in the Senate, where she’s gone viral for taking Trump cronies to task in an inimitably incisive fashion. Lily Herman, refinery29.com, "Kamala Harris Is Redefining Charisma," 30 June 2019 Hosted by CNN Business correspondents, the 15-minute program features incisive commentary from experts. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Don't bet against Apple, says tech investing legend Alan Patricof," 9 July 2019 At the same time, Davis writes angular, incisive vocal lines in the mid-century modernist tradition. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Meredith Monk’s “ATLAS” and the L.A. Phil’s Extraordinary Season," 24 June 2019

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

circa 1834, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near incisive

incised

incised meander

incision

incisive

incisor

incitation

incite

Statistics for incisive

Last Updated

28 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for incisive

The first known use of incisive was circa 1834

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More Definitions for incisive

incisive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incisive

: very clear and direct : able to explain difficult ideas clearly and confidently

incisive

adjective
in·​ci·​sive | \ in-ˈsī-siv How to pronounce incisive (audio) \

Medical Definition of incisive

: incisal also : of, relating to, or situated near the incisors

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More from Merriam-Webster on incisive

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incisive

Spanish Central: Translation of incisive

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Britannica English: Translation of incisive for Arabic Speakers

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