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in·​ten·​sive in-ˈten(t)-siv How to pronounce intensive (audio)
: of, relating to, or marked by intensity or intensification: such as
: highly concentrated
intensive study
: tending to strengthen or increase
especially : tending to give force or emphasis
intensive adverb
: constituting or relating to a method designed to increase productivity by the expenditure of more capital and labor rather than by increase in scope
intensive farming
intensively adverb
intensiveness noun


2 of 2


: an intensive linguistic element

Did you know?

intensive purposes or intents and purposes?

If you are casting about for the phrase that is used to say that “one thing has the same effect or result as something else,” you are looking for for all intents and purposes; you are not looking for intensive purposes. Your purposes may indeed be intensive in some way (we don’t want to know the details), but these two words are not commonly found together as an idiom. The pairing of intents and purposes comes from a 1546 Act of Parliament conveying that King Henry VIII had unlimited power to interpret laws; it contained the phrase “to all intents, constructions, and purposes.”

Examples of intensive in a Sentence

Adjective an intensive course in business writing an intensive effort to prevent an adult bookstore from opening in town
Recent Examples on the Web
Idaho college murders: The complete timeline of events After an intensive six-week search for a suspect, 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, was arrested on Dec. 30 at his family's Pennsylvania home. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2023 Following phase one, a jury will assess submissions and choose four writers to move on to phase two of the intensive. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Nov. 2023 The MacBook Pro is well-suited for even the most demanding fields, including those requiring more intensive video editing and rendering. Christian De Looper,, 1 Nov. 2023 There are quiet, intensive negotiations going on behind the scenes involving a number of – of parties. ABC News, 5 Nov. 2023 Maui leaders are still trying to scale up the number of available mental health practitioners, Oliver said, estimating that roughly 2,000 fire victims may need intensive counseling. Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, 5 Nov. 2023 Dominique Janee: And that level of hygiene was labor intensive, says Downs, opening a chance for a refugee mother to get a hospital job considered women's work. Dominique Janee, Scientific American, 2 Nov. 2023 Shelly Fuller, who directs the program, says managing vape waste has gotten more costly and labor intensive with the shift to disposables. Matthew Perrone, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2023 Some civilian casualties are unavoidable in war, especially during a bombing campaign as intensive as the one Israel has been waging in recent days. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Oct. 2023
Prominent studios across the country have risen to meet the demand, offering week-long adult intensives and even performance opportunities. Alice Robb, ELLE, 28 Feb. 2023 Their Race2Community program includes a nine-week intensive built to guide white women through deep introspection surrounding their own internalized white supremacy. Dana Brownlee, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2022 To make squat day more glute intensive, try using an exaggerated wide stance. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 19 Oct. 2022 Out of each year’s participants, the program selects 400 enthusiastic, aspiring dancers to join a 10-week intensive at Boston Ballet. Karen Campbell,, 19 Aug. 2022 The ballet has the Otto M. Budig Academy, too, with a schedule of summer intensives. David Lyman,, 24 Mar. 2020 Lynx said many of the students who come for the monthslong intensives (another option) are divorced, or on their way to it. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2020 The non-profit holds annual summer intensives in each country, during which notable songwriters and producers teach collaborative songwriting, music production and music business in an effort to foster local talent. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, 23 Aug. 2019 In addition to the U.S., Spotify has also held Sound Up intensives in Australia, Brazil, and the U.K. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, 7 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intensive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1604, in the meaning defined above


1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intensive was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near intensive

Cite this Entry

“Intensive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
in·​ten·​sive in-ˈten(t)-siv How to pronounce intensive (audio)
: marked by special effort
an intensive campaign
: serving to give emphasis
an intensive adverb, as "dreadfully" in "it was dreadfully cold"
intensively adverb
intensiveness noun


2 of 2 noun
: an intensive word
"quite" is an intensive in "quite a guy"

Medical Definition


in·​ten·​sive in-ˈten(t)-siv How to pronounce intensive (audio)
: of, relating to, or marked by an extreme degree especially of dosage, duration, or frequency
high-dose intensive chemotherapy
intensive counseling for eating disorders
intensively adverb
treat intensively

More from Merriam-Webster on intensive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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