in·​va·​sive | \ in-ˈvā-siv How to pronounce invasive (audio) , -ziv \

Definition of invasive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : tending to spread especially in a quick or aggressive manner: such as
a of a nonnative organism : growing and dispersing easily usually to the detriment of native species and ecosystems It will be the second Australian insect released to thwart melaleuca, one of many exponentially spreading invasive plants that out-compete native Florida species, monopolizing wetlands and natural areas.— Neil Santaniello Scientists say more than 150 invasive species have entered the Great Lakes, multiplying rapidly and feeding on native species or outcompeting with them for food.— Sophia Taren
b(1) of cancer cells : tending to infiltrate surrounding healthy tissue … this procedure preserves the architecture of the tissue sample, which is vital for determining whether tumor cells are invasive.— Andrew A. Skolnick
(2) of a pathogenic microorganism or disease : disseminating from a localized area throughout the body sepsis association with invasive bacteria invasive streptococcal infection
2 : involving entry into the living body (as by incision or by insertion of an instrument) invasive diagnostic techniques
3 : of, relating to, or characterized by military aggression
4 : tending to infringe



Definition of invasive (Entry 2 of 2)

: an organism that is not native to the place where found and tends to grow and spread easily usually to the detriment of native species and ecosystems Zebra mussels are the latest in a series of aquatic invasives to threaten Texas' inland waters.— Shannon Tompkins

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Other Words from invasive


invasiveness noun

Examples of invasive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This system is designed to correct MR in a minimally invasive way. Ginger Christ, cleveland, "Cleveland hospitals ‘get to the heart’ of new cardiac health innovations," 16 Feb. 2020 There’s no need to take time off for the non-invasive treatment. Los Angeles Times, "Skin matters: Seven beauty treatments for your future red carpet moments," 11 Feb. 2020 The film’s non-ironic title represents the invasive, Trojan-horse squad favored by media and power-mad politicians who now act out Hollywood’s Vietnam-era curse: American self-hatred. Armond White, National Review, "Parasite: Anti-Americanism Returns to the Oscars," 10 Feb. 2020 So the tiny ‘doing one thing’ keeps it constant but in a way that’s not invasive. NBC News, "Cleaning sucks. This book will help you get better at it.," 8 Feb. 2020 Vander Esch underwent what has been described as minimally invasive surgery to address a bulging disk in his neck a little over three weeks ago. David Moore, Dallas News, "‘That’s the thing that scares me’: Michael Irvin voices caution on Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch’s return," 6 Feb. 2020 Public fears of contamination by invasive foreigners reached a fevered pitch even before the first case of pneumonia at the Wuhan seafood market hit the news. Time, "The Pandemic of Xenophobia and Scapegoating," 3 Feb. 2020 Mildew isn’t nearly as invasive or dangerous as mold, but in some cases, exposure will cause respiratory and nasal irritation. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Battle Mold and Mildew In Your Home," 3 Feb. 2020 As part of his remarks, Trump touched on several Michigan-specific items including taking steps to keep invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, building a new navigation shipping lock in Sault Ste. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "President Trump talks trade deal, Asian carp, Chaldeans in visit to Warren axle plant," 30 Jan. 2020

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


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1990, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for invasive

Time Traveler

The first known use of invasive was in 1598

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Statistics for invasive

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Invasive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for invasive


How to pronounce invasive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of invasive

: tending to spread
medical : involving entry into the body by cutting or by inserting an instrument


in·​va·​sive | \ -siv, -ziv How to pronounce invasive (audio) \

Medical Definition of invasive

1 : tending to spread especially : tending to invade healthy tissue invasive cancer cells
2 : involving entry into the living body (as by incision or by insertion of an instrument) invasive diagnostic techniques

Other Words from invasive

invasiveness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on invasive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with invasive

Spanish Central: Translation of invasive

Nglish: Translation of invasive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invasive for Arabic Speakers

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