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[in-sahy-siv] /ɪnˈsaɪ sɪv/
penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant:
an incisive tone of voice.
remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute:
an incisive method of summarizing the issue.
adapted for cutting or piercing.
of or relating to the incisors:
the incisive teeth.
Origin of incisive
From the Medieval Latin word incīsīvus, dating back to 1520-30. See incise, -ive
Related forms
incisively, adverb
incisiveness, noun
unincisive, adjective
unincisively, adverb
unincisiveness, noun
1. acid, mordant; sarcastic, sardonic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for incisively
Historical Examples
  • How incisively the composer traps your consciousness in the next theme of the sonata, with its four knocking D's.

    Franz Liszt James Huneker
  • I take it, said Peggy incisively, after a while, that you dont care for me any longer.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • When he spoke again it was hardly, incisively, as a man speaks the truth he hates.

    The Divine Fire May Sinclair
  • “Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” he said incisively.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • She did not look at him, but continued speaking fluently, warmly, incisively.

    Too Old for Dolls Anthony Mario Ludovici
  • They are heavy and rather fruity in effect but are incisively drawn and cut.

    John Baptist Jackson Jacob Kainen
  • "Miss Dixie is a purty good judge, Sam," Henley answered, incisively.

    Dixie Hart Will N. Harben
  • "He's got a good many points in his favor," said Watts, incisively.

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
  • The eyes that looked so incisively into his did not match the young face.

    Caravans By Night Harry Hervey
  • "That is their fault; not ours," Lucy Warner said incisively.

British Dictionary definitions for incisively


keen, penetrating, or acute
biting or sarcastic; mordant: an incisive remark
having a sharp cutting edge: incisive teeth
Derived Forms
incisively, adverb
incisiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for incisively



early 15c., inscisif, "slashing, cutting with a sharp edge," from Middle French incisif and directly from Medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incis-, past participle stem of incidere (see incision). Originally literal; figurative sense of "mentally acute" first recorded 1850 as a borrowing from French. Related: Incisively; incisiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incisively in Medicine

incisive in·ci·sive (ĭn-sī'sĭv)

  1. Having the power to cut.

  2. Relating to the incisor teeth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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