[ in-sahy-siv ]
See synonyms for: incisiveincisiveness on

  1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant: an incisive tone of voice.

  2. remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute: an incisive method of summarizing the issue.

  1. adapted for cutting or piercing.

  2. 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

Other words for incisive

Other words from incisive

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

How to use incisive in a sentence

  • Even while they could become annoyed by his hands-off approach, they admired his incisive questioning of graduate students and visitors giving presentations to the department.

    The Jamaican connection | Robert Samuels | January 13, 2021 | Washington Post
  • The soft Southern burr of his ordinary conversation had given place to a clear incisiveness.

    Blazed Trail Stories | Stewart Edward White
  • Cold, hard rays penetrate through the immense ruin, separating with a sharp incisiveness the light from the shadows.

  • You are perfectly right, he said with sudden, smiting incisiveness.

    A Singular Life | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • But the Coroner's voice broke in upon his flounderings with sharp incisiveness.

    The Riddle of the Purple Emperor | Mary E. Hanshew and Thomas W. Hanshew
  • Carney asked, the crisp incisiveness of his voice wakening completely the rather fogged man.

    Bulldog Carney | W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for incisive


/ (ɪnˈsaɪsɪv) /

  1. keen, penetrating, or acute

  2. biting or sarcastic; mordant: an incisive remark

  1. having a sharp cutting edge: incisive teeth

Derived forms of incisive

  • incisively, adverb
  • incisiveness, 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