View synonyms for incisive


[ in-sahy-siv ]


  1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant:

    an incisive tone of voice.

    Synonyms: sardonic, sarcastic, mordant, acid

  2. remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute:

    an incisive method of summarizing the issue.

  3. adapted for cutting or piercing.
  4. of or relating to the incisors:

    the incisive teeth.


/ ɪnˈsaɪsɪv /


  1. keen, penetrating, or acute
  2. biting or sarcastic; mordant

    an incisive remark

  3. having a sharp cutting edge

    incisive teeth

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Derived Forms

  • inˈcisively, adverb
  • inˈcisiveness, noun

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Other Words From

  • in·cisive·ly adverb
  • in·cisive·ness noun
  • unin·cisive adjective
  • unin·cisive·ly adverb
  • unin·cisive·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of incisive1

From the Medieval Latin word incīsīvus, dating back to 1520–30. See incise, -ive

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Example Sentences

The show works as well as it does because it’s richly observed, wittily scripted, brilliantly cast and subtly acted, with a sense of humor that’s both sophisticated and incisive in its skewering of academia’s particular brand of pretentiousness.

From Time

The two hosts approach it like stand-up comedians but the actual commercial and cultural analysis is sharp and incisive.

From Digiday

While he rallies late and fills the latter third with incisive insights about issues of race and gender and about Williams’s life in the public eye, his nonlinear writing often diffuses much of what originally made Williams so compelling.

Regardless of its imperfections, Jenkins’ vision is still executed in a thoughtful, incisive way that will hopefully serve as a blueprint for more shows and films like it in the future.

It won’t be as incisive as it might have been if it had been undertaken the first week of January 2020 and everything was on the table, but I still think it’s not too late.

It is a joy to watch Shafer seamlessly work incisive commentary on contemporary life into a fast-paced spine-chiller.

His correspondence, much of which survives, is that of an incisive and articulate observer.

Equally incisive were Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, and the three young Afro-Englishmen electrified the game.

John Jenkins describes Miller as an “incisive witness both to scientific acumen and religious belief.”

But unlike Bloom and Eagleton, his books have been, while erudite and incisive, unashamedly populist.

Immediately her own reassumed a harsh, proud set, her voice became even more incisive and cold.

He has six incisive and two canine teeth in each jaw, without reckoning the grinders.

His speech was rather incisive, considering how little he had seen of Paul.

Next above him in age is the host; shrewd, brusque, incisive of speech and manner.

The little woman was so combative and incisive that this always seemed a necessary precaution on the part of that gentleman.


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