[ in-sahy-siv ]
/ ɪnˈsaɪ sɪv /


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.

Nearby words

  1. incised wound,
  2. incisiform,
  3. incision,
  4. incision biopsy,
  5. incisional hernia,
  6. incisive bone,
  7. incisive canal,
  8. incisive foramen,
  9. incisive fossa,
  10. incisive papilla

Origin of incisive

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

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

Examples from the Web for incisively

British Dictionary definitions for incisively


/ (ɪnˈsaɪsɪv) /


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 incisively



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

Medicine definitions for incisively


[ ĭn-sīsĭv ]


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.