[ dih-skur-siv ]
See synonyms for: discursivediscursivelydiscursiveness on Thesaurus.com

  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

Other words for discursive

Other words from discursive

  • dis·cur·sive·ly, adverb
  • dis·cur·sive·ness, noun
  • non·dis·cur·sive, adjective
  • non·dis·cur·sive·ly, adverb
  • non·dis·cur·sive·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use discursive in a sentence

  • The war—which is a discursive battle right now, it’s a war of ideas mostly—is waged by people who feel that what’s good for the land is what’s good for people.

  • Sterne's sentiment and discursiveness found several feeble imitators.

  • In this discursiveness of intellect he more nearly resembled the Encyclopedists of the 18th century than the men of his own time.

    George Eliot | Mathilde Blind
  • Even so slight a survey as this must show the astonishing discursiveness of Mr. Lewes's intellect.

    George Eliot | Mathilde Blind
  • There was the same discursiveness in his talk as in his sermon, Harry thought; and the same uneasy restlessness of manner.

British Dictionary definitions for discursive


/ (dɪˈskɜːsɪv) /

  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 intuition: Compare dianoetic

Origin of discursive

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

Derived forms of discursive

  • discursively, adverb
  • discursiveness, 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