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 formsin·ci·sive·ly, adverbin·ci·sive·ness, nounun·in·ci·sive, adjectiveun·in·ci·sive·ly, adverbun·in·ci·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms for incisive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incisive

Contemporary Examples of incisive

Historical Examples of incisive

  • But incisive native writing about American traits is not lacking.

  • "Yes, it is Florent," she said presently, in incisive tones.

  • Each quiet, incisive word that Chet spoke was clearly heard.

    The Finding of Haldgren

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • How disagreeable he must have made himself, to render her so sharp and so incisive all at once.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • "It was sold for money, I suppose," he said with studied and incisive calmness.

British Dictionary definitions for incisive



keen, penetrating, or acute
biting or sarcastic; mordantan incisive remark
having a sharp cutting edgeincisive teeth
Derived Formsincisively, adverbincisiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for incisive

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

incisive in Medicine




Having the power to cut.
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.