passing aimlessly from one subject to another; digressive; rambling.
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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for discursiveness

Historical Examples of discursiveness

  • Yet this discursiveness is not so irrelevant to the handful of pages which follow.

    Notes on My Books

    Joseph Conrad

  • Two other stories were used by the speaker, about the length and discursiveness of his talk.


    William Pittenger

  • The nature of my studies—and the pre kept me rigidly to the desk—offered little to the discursiveness of fancy.

  • His works are full of graceful and suggestive thought, but occasionally suffer from length and discursiveness.

  • With the vigilance of a ratting terrier he watches for discursiveness, and pounces upon the offender at once.


    Frank Fox

British Dictionary definitions for discursiveness



passing from one topic to another, usually in an unmethodical way; digressive
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 discursiveness



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