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  1. passing aimlessly from one subject to another; digressive; rambling.
  2. proceeding by reasoning or argument rather than intuition.

Origin of discursive

From the Medieval Latin word discursīvus, dating back to 1590–1600. See discourse, -ive
Related formsdis·cur·sive·ly, adverbdis·cur·sive·ness, nounnon·dis·cur·sive, adjectivenon·dis·cur·sive·ly, adverbnon·dis·cur·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms for discursive

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of discursive

British Dictionary definitions for discursive


  1. passing from one topic to another, usually in an unmethodical way; digressive
  2. philosophy of or relating to knowledge obtained by reason and argument rather than intuitionCompare dianoetic
Derived Formsdiscursively, adverbdiscursiveness, noun

Word Origin for discursive

C16: from Medieval Latin discursīvus, from Late Latin discursus discourse
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

Word Origin and History for discursive

1590s, from Middle French discursif, from Medieval Latin discursivus, from Latin discursus "a running about" (see discourse). Related: Discursively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper