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[in-ten-siv] /ɪnˈtɛn sɪv/
of, relating to, or characterized by intensity:
intensive questioning.
tending to intensify; intensifying.
  1. increasing in intensity or degree.
  2. instituting treatment to the limit of safety.
noting or pertaining to a system of agriculture involving the cultivation of limited areas, and relying on the maximum use of labor and expenditures to raise the crop yield per unit area (opposed to extensive).
requiring or having a high concentration of a specified quality or element (used in combination):
Coal mining is a labor-intensive industry.
Grammar. indicating increased emphasis or force. Certainly is an intensive adverb. Myself in I did it myself is an intensive pronoun.
something that intensifies.
Grammar. an intensive element or formation, as -self in himself, or Latin -tō in iac-tō, “I hurl” from iacō, “I throw.”.
Origin of intensive
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Medieval Latin word intēnsīvus. See intense, -ive
Related forms
intensively, adverb
intensiveness, noun
unintensive, adjective
unintensively, adverb
Can be confused
intense, intensive, intents. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for intensively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Each of these movements is treated as intensively as time permits.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • This phase of study can scarcely be too intensively followed.

  • Where others merely "boost," Cleveland "boosts" intensively.

    Abroad at Home

    Julian Street
  • Vineyards, on the other hand, can only be worked "intensively."

    Round About the Carpathians Andrew F. Crosse
  • But the earlier part is gracious—a word specifically and intensively applicable to it.

  • One man was assigned to each small subdivision of scientific endeavor, to study it intensively.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • Before all it occurs when anything is dealt with intensively, increasing with the increase of the difficulty of the subject.

    Criminal Psychology Hans Gross
  • It was only after the slides had become serious that the geological aspects of the subject were intensively considered.

  • With Victor Hugo, generally more or less and intensively here, it was unfortunately different.

British Dictionary definitions for intensively


involving the maximum use of land, time, or some other resource: intensive agriculture, an intensive course
(usually in combination) using one factor of production proportionately more than others, as specified: capital-intensive, labour-intensive
(agriculture) involving or farmed using large amounts of capital or labour to increase production from a particular area Compare extensive (sense 3)
denoting or relating to a grammatical intensifier
denoting or belonging to a class of pronouns used to emphasize a noun or personal pronoun, such as himself in the sentence John himself did it. In English, intensive pronouns are identical in form with reflexive pronouns
of or relating to intension
(physics) of or relating to a local property, measurement, etc, that is independent of the extent of the system Compare extensive (sense 4)
an intensifier or intensive pronoun or grammatical construction
Derived Forms
intensively, adverb
intensiveness, 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 intensively



mid-15c., from French intensif (14c.), from Latin intens-, past participle stem of intendere (see intend). As a noun, 1813, from the adjective. Alternative intensitive is a malformation. Intensive care attested from 1958. Related: Intensively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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